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Mega Fund Drops Guns After Connecticut Shooting

CalSTRS stand may be just the beginning in a purging of gun-related investments by Wall Street's largest investors, which could move faster than any prospective federal ban on assault weapons or prohibition on cartridge sizes. Already a precedent exists.

CalSTRS and the California Public Employees' Retirement System (CalPERS) were early movers in banning limited partner and stock investments in corporations that did business in South Africa during the apartheid era, and more recently, in tobacco related businesses.

A CalSTRS spokesperson Ricardo Duran said in an interview in mid-December that the fund has weighed social-action based investments since the late 1970's. Economic pressures exerted by U.S. investors and corporations were one of the factors that precipitated the end of apartheid, noted former South African president F.W. de Klerk.

In the 2000s, CalSTRS and CalPERS decided to divest of assets in the tobacco industry, according to revised investment principles.

CalPERS and CalSTRS are both small investors in Smith & Wesson, Sturm, Ruger, Cabela's, Dick's Sporting Goods and they are large holders of Wal-Mart shares, according to Securities and Exchange Commission filings compiled by Bloomberg, as of Sept. 30.

Shares in Smith & Wesson and Sturm, Ruger fell over 2% and just under 1% respectively in Wednesday trading.

-- Written by Antoine Gara in New York

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