U.S. President Barack Obama wipes away a tear while announcing steps the administration is taking to reduce gun violence while delivering a statement in the East Room of the White House in Washington, in this January 5, 2016. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
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Barack Obama might seem an unlikely investor in the firearms industry. But the U.S. president, a fierce advocate for gun regulation, has money in a pension fund that holds stock in gun and ammunition companies. Although Obama's stake is minuscule, worth no more than $30, it reflects an avid and much larger surge of investment.The president is among millions of Americans buying into gun companies – often unwittingly – as mutual funds have increased such holdings to record levels, according to a Reuters analysis of institutional investment in firearms companies.Since Obama was elected in 2009, mutual funds have raised their stakes to about $510 million from $30 million in the nation's two largest gun manufacturers with publicly traded shares, Smith & Wesson Corp. and Sturm, Ruger & Co. The $16 billion Illinois pension fund that includes Obama's investment holds at least $4.8 million in shares of gun industry stocks, including Smith & Wesson, Ruger, Vista and renowned ammunition maker Olin Corp.In its analysis, Reuters used mutual fund holdings data from Morningstar and Lipper Inc., a Thomson Reuters company, to examine firearms investments during the Obama presidency.Obama isn't the only gun-regulation advocate with investments in gun-industry holdings.
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