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Investor Responses to Gun Violence in the U.S.

While gun control has long been a contentious issue in American political discourse, the latest wave of tragedies combined with President Obama’s effort to take executive action has once again brought it to the fore. And while gun sales tend to rise in the aftermath of mass shootings1, certain investors may seek to "unload" their portfolios2, engage with gun makers on the topic of safety mechanisms, or take other action to express their values via their investments. In addition to keeping clients abreast of the latest issues and developments, MSCI ESG Research provides data and tools to support investors who wish to identify gun makers and related companies, whether for the purpose of divestment or engagement.

This Issue Brief aims to provide context for how institutional investors may choose to handle this issue and outlines the types of tools available through MSCI ESG Research to support implementation of an investment strategy around this issue.


  • Institutional investors may set an investment policy that calls for an engagement approach, a divestment approach, or a combination of the two
  • The fiduciary impact of firearms divestment is relatively limited due to the size of the companies involved
  • MSCI ESG Research provides a suite of screening factors that are designed to be flexible and customizable to meet client-specific policies