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Policy: Entitlements

Chicago sacrificing pension funds to push gun control

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Politics,Beltway Confidential,Michal Conger,Chicago,Entitlements,Pensions

Urged by Mayor Rahm Emanuel, the city of Chicago’s severely underfunded pension funds are divesting their holdings in gun makers to pressure those companies over their stance on gun laws.

The move could deal a hefty blow to the city’s six pension funds, which are only 50 percent funded with combined debt of $26.8 billion. Gun sales have skyrocketed in response to calls for stricter gun control, boosting the companies Chicago is so eager to part with.

Emanuel on Wednesday pressured banks, pension funds and mutual funds across the country to “divest and blacklist” gun manufacturers until they embrace “commonsense” gun laws.

“The time is now for everyone to do anything they can to stop these military-style guns and magazines from ending up on the street and putting families, children and police officers at risk,” he said in a statement. “This has to be about doing what is morally right and not what is financially beneficial to their bottom lines.”

The Chicago Municipal Employees Annuity and Benefit Fund, which has the biggest unfunded liability of the city’s pension funds, voted last week to divest more than $1 million in Freedom Group, Smith and Wesson and Sturm Ruger. The Chicago Teachers Pension Fund also voted to divest its holdings in gun manufacturers.

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