A group of state lawmakers want Illinois to stop investing in companies that make guns and ammunition. IPR’s Brian Mackey has more.
The legislation would require the state's five pension systems to identify gun makers in their portfolios. If the companies refused to get out of that line of work, the state would have to withdraw its investments. One of the sponsors of the proposal says Illinois shouldn't be investing in something so controversial.But Rep. Brandon Phelps, a pro-gun Democrat from Harrisburg, calls the idea "ridiculous." He says there are 65 firearms companies in Illinois employing 85-hundred people, a billion-dollar industry. "We need every revenue we can get right now. We definitely don't want to lose those manufacturers." Rep. Kathleen Willis sees it differently. A Democrat from Addison who's sponsoring one of the measures, Willis says she's asked how much Illinois invests in firearms companies, and is waiting on an answer. "Until we actually get those figures, I don't think it's fair to assume we're really going to be hurting the industry that much." Willis says it's not the first time Illinois has reconsidered controversial investments. The state pensions systems are prohibited from investing in companies that do business with the governments of Iran and Sudan.