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Chicago Takes the Lead in Assault Weapon Divestment

Urging other cities to follow suit: 'This could become a national movement'

- Lauren McCauley, staff writer

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced today that Chicago would take the first step in firearm divestment by examining all city pension funds for investments in assault weapons manufacturers and sellers.

(Photo: Olivier Douliery/ MCT/ Newscom) Speaking at a gun violence event at the Center for American Progress, Emanuel said he would “lead a charge among all mayors,” urging them to do the same.

“We do know that there are some holdings, and they may not add up to a lot of money, but every dollar matters,” said City Comptroller Amer Ahmad of the city's five major pension funds, which contain more than $13.5 billion in assets.

“We hope that other cities and states start picking this up, and we’re hearing that others may,” he added. “This could become a good national movement.”

This big announcement comes as the city homocide rate posted a 15 percent rise over the previous year, with 513 people killed in Chicago in 2012—mostly by gun violence.

Sparking what appears to be a trend, last week a California teachers pension fund voted unanimously to divest from the firearm industry, calling the Dec. 14 Sandy Hook massacre a "tipping point" in the ongoing battle over guns and gun legislation.