By Wesley Lowery
Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said Wednesday that he has asked the city's three pension funds to review all investments and work to end those in companies that manufacture assault weapons.
Invoking the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting that left 27 dead in Newtown, Conn., last month, Villaraigosa said it was inappropriate for the city to make money off weapons manufacturers.
"It's a moral and financial imperative to end our relationship with these companies," said the mayor, who added that it was unclear how much pension money was invested in weapons makers. "I don't want to make a quarter, not a penny, not a dime off of companies that make those weapons of war," he later added.
His City Hall news conference came just hours after President Obama announced a new package of gun control proposals in response to the school shooting.
In letters to the city's pension boards -- for employees of the Department of Water and Power, the city of Los Angeles, and the police and fire departments -- the mayor requested a report on the feasibility of removing all investments in weapons makers.
"We should not invest in or support companies that put military-grade weapons on our streets," Villaraigosa wrote to the pension boards.
The letters and announcement mirror a similar call from Councilwoman and mayoral candidate Jan Perry, who called for an end to such investments in a Jan. 11 City Council motion.
Villaraigosa's directive to review city pension investments was not a result of Perry's motion, according to the mayor's spokesman. Two days ago, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel requested a similar review of that city's pension investments. Villaraigosa stressed that the push for gun safety must come from the local level, and said he would be holding a news conference Friday with New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the Mayors Against Illegal Guns group.
The mayor also said he would support a citywide ban on the possession of high-capacity magazines, which was proposed by Councilman Paul Krekorian on Tuesday. He also said that he would want to see the California ban on selling and manufacturing high-capacity magazines broadened to include possession and that he would favor a federal ban.
"Getting this done at the state, getting this done nationally, has to be the priority," Villaraigosa said.
(c)2013 the Los Angeles Times