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Nuns secure a victory for gun safety advocates

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images/File/Getty Images

Curbing gun violence can seem such a daunting task, it’s hard to know where to begin.

How about with a bunch of nuns?

The Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary won a heartening victory Tuesday, when they got shareholders in American Outdoor Brands, formerly Smith & Wesson, to approve a proposal requiring the Springfield gunmaker to produce a report on gun safety.

CHESTO MEANS BUSINESS: Nuns score a win against Smith & Wesson’s parent

The hope is that the exercise will nudge the company and other reluctant firearm makers to develop so-called “smart guns,” which can only be fired by their owners.


The technology would render stolen firearms useless. And it could prevent thousands of suicides by despondent teens digging into their parents’ closets for weapons.

Earlier this year, activists got shareholders of gunmaker Sturm, Ruger & Co. to require a similar report. To gun control activists, this is beginning to look like momentum.

“Just one year ago, it was unthinkable that shareholders would demand that gun manufacturers examine their own role in America’s gun violence,” said Avery Gardiner, co-president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, in a statement. “Now, it’s becoming the norm.”

What changed? There was the awful massacre at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., of course. But there was something else, too — the impressive activism of the Stoneman survivors and now, the resolute work of an inspired band of sisters.