How to know if you own gun stocks without knowing it

Maybe you don’t want to make money off of AR-15s.
Maybe you don’t want to make money off of AR-15s.
Image: Reuters/Brian Blanco
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Exchange-traded funds (ETFs) are a fantastic tool because they give investors exposure to many securities at once. But one downside is that you may not know what individual stocks you own within the funds unless you do some research.

Given the current concern over owning gun-manufacturer stocks in the aftermath of the latest high-school shooting in Parkland, Florida, we did a bit of digging and found 46 ETFs that include one or more of the three publicly traded gun manufacturers: American Outdoor Brands (AOBC), Vista Outdoor (VSTO), and Sturm Ruger (RGR)—the latter of which makes the AR-15 rifles that have been in the news (paywall).

The most likely way that you might own a gun-manufacturer stock is through a fund that tracks a broad market index, like the Russell 2000 or S&P 600 indexes. The full list of ETFs, as sourced from ETF Database and ETF Channel, is below:

What should you do if you want to avoid gun-manufacturer stocks? One option is to consider a fund that tracks a “socially responsible” index like the MSCI KLD 400 Social Index, which tracks 400 US securities that meet certain environmental, social, and governance criteria. It has either beaten or kept track with both the Russell 2000 and S&P 600 indexes over the past one- and five-year periods.