The Sparrow Project, an activist media group, reported today that traders at two asset management companies, Owl Creek and Impala, seized on the December Sandy Hook massacre as an opportunity to profit from gun sales. At a time when many traders were divesting from the gun trade for political reasons, Owl Creek’s Jeffrey Altman and Impala’s Robert Bishop apparently bought in, according to SEC filings for the fourth quarter of 2012. So far, Altman’s and Bishop’s investments have been quite lucrative. Initially, due to public horror at the carnage that Adam Lanza’s Smith & Wesson AR-15 was capable of, the company’s stock dropped 18 percent by the Tuesday after the deadly elementary school shooting. But by the last quarterly report this March, Smith & Wesson’s value had tripled from its December low. According to Forbes, the same thing occurred at the end of the summer of 2012 when two mass shootings prompted rapid growth in the gun industry. “A shooting claims a great deal of lives, fear increases that anti-gun legislation will follow and folks promptly head out to stock up,” writes Forbes’Abram Brown. There are no legal restrictions on profiteering off tragedies like Sandy Hook, but the Sparrow Project is urging action against Owl Creek and Impala. Demanding “nothing short of a complete sale of their positions in SWHC & RGR with any profits made from their sales donated to the families of Sandy Hook victims,” the Sparrow Project provides the phone numbers of the offenders and their enablers, with some advice for what to say and how to say it (politely, of course).
Amien Essif is a regular contributor to Working In These Times and maintains a blog called The Gazine, which focuses on consumerism, gentrification, and technology with a Luddite bent. His work has also appeared on the Guardian and CounterPunch. You can find him using Twitter reluctantly: @AmienChicago