Sept. 26 (UPI) -- Gun maker Smith & Wesson will have to research the role its guns play in criminal shootings and explore ways to make its products safer after losing a battle with a religious group.
Investors led by The Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility pushed for a resolution on gun safety at American Outdoor Brand's annual shareholder meeting Tuesday. American Outdoor Brand is the parent company for Smith & Wesson.
Shareholders approved the resolution. A similar measure received approval from 70 percent of Sturm Ruger shareholders earlier this year.
American Outdoor Brands CEO James Debney said the vote was "politically motivated" and he was "disappointed" that the group made its stand at the shareholders meeting rather than through the legislature.
The resolution requires that Smith & Wesson monitor shootings that involve its products and research ways to make safer guns. Smith & Wesson's AR-15 rifles were used in the mass shootings in Parkland, Fla., San Bernadino, Calif., and Aurora, Colo.
"We are all looking for solutions to gun violence," said Sister Judy Byron, who presented the resolution. "The shareholders who filed this proposal believe that, as a company directly implicated in these events, American Outdoor Brands is obligated to help find them. Not only can these solutions help save many lives, they may help AOBC's long-term business prospects in the process and we are gratified that so many of our fellow shareholders supported our resolution today."
BlackRock Fund and Vanguard support the resolution. They are among American Outdoor's biggest shareholders. Institutional Shareholder Services and Glass Lewis also supported it.
"Just one year ago, it was unthinkable that shareholders would demand that gun manufacturers examine their own role in America's gun violence epidemic," Avery Gardiner, co-president of the Brady Campaign, said in a statement. "Now, it's becoming the norm."