Mercy Investment Services’ commitment to the critical concern of nonviolence has been a driving factor in our engagements with companies regarding their role in the gun violence epidemic. Recently, credit card companies announced they’ll implement changes that shareholders have called for to help curb gun violence.
Major U.S. credit card companies including Mastercard and Visa have pledged to implement a new merchant category code for U.S. gun retailers. The code will separately categorize sales at gun and ammunition stores, which can help identify bulk purchases. Mercy Investment Services and other faith-based shareholders engaged both credit card companies last year regarding how their cards are used to purchase untraceable firearms. Shareholders hope that the unique merchant category code can help identify these items that are often used in crimes.
Mercy Investments’ work on gun violence also includes gun manufacturers. In September, more than 40 percent of shareholders at gun manufacturer Smith and Wesson voted in favor of a resolution calling for the company to develop a human rights policy, noting the risks throughout the company’s operations and supply chain. More than 60 percent of Sturm Ruger shareholders supported a similar resolution earlier this year. The company has not yet committed to implementing the proposal, but Mercy Investments is pushing them to do so.
Mercy Investment Services will continue to press for credit card companies and gun manufacturers to take concrete actions that address their roles in the gun violence epidemic.