In Massachusetts, the state Legislature has the responsibility of determining which investments at the pension fund should be banned. Lawmakers had previously required the pension fund to divest from companies that do business in Iran, Sudan, and in the tobacco industry, and there are restrictions on companies doing business in South Africa and Northern Ireland that are engaged in the production or sale of firearms and ammunition.
Generally these changes have come after a public hue and cry.
“There is a tipping point,’’ said Michael Schlachter, a managing director of Wilshire Associates, a Santa Monica, Calif.-based investment consulting firm. “Whether or not this was one, remains to be seen,’’ he said of the Newtown slayings.
Harvard University’s endowment, a major institutional investor with $31 billion under management, declined to comment on gun investments.
But Stanley Eleff, a member of a Harvard alumni group that is often critical of the university’s endowment management, said in an e-mail, “Surely assault weapons and those who make them for anything other than military use is not something from which Harvard should profit.”
There will likely be continuing fallout for gun retailers and makers in the coming weeks. Cerberus’s gun company, the Freedom Group, counts Walmart as its largest distributor, responsible for 15 percent of its net sales in 2011, according to Freedom’s annual report.
Freedom said it has “strong relationships” with a number of other stores as well, including Dick’s Sporting Goods and Academy Sports.
Walmart and Academy did not respond to requests for comment Tuesday. KKR declined to comment.
Beth Healy can be reached at email@example.com.