Less than a day after the California teachers pension fund threatened to withdraw its investment, a major private equity firm has announced that it will sell Freedom Group, a company it formed that includes the manufacturer of the rifle used by Adam Lanza to massacre 26 people at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT.
Cerberus Capital Management is owned by billionaire Stephen Feinberg, who is a gun enthusiast and whose father happens to live in Newtown. Bushmaster, which produced the AR-15 semi-automatic weapon reportedly used by Lanza, was one of six gun companies that Cerberus had bought and consolidated into Freedom Group.
The California State Teachers Retirement System (CalSTRS) has invested $600 million in the Cerberus fund, which, the New York Times reported, translates into a 2.4 percent stake in Freedom Group. The California Public Employees Retirement System, or CalPERS, also invested an estimated $400 million in the company. California Treasurer Bill Lockyer, who sits on the boards of both pension funds, said, “Our objective is to make sure that both CalPERS and CalSTRS are scrubbed clean of any investment in any company that makes guns that are illegal in this state and expose our communities to violence and death.”
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