Warren Buffett defends doing business with gun manufacturers after questioner claims it's at odds with everything he stands for

Warren Buffett. Photo: Yuri Gripas/ Getty Images.
  • Warren Buffett, Berkshire Hathaway‘s CEO, said on Saturday that his personal views on gun control do not reflect the company’s thinking.
  • “I do not believe in imposing my political opinions on the activities of our businesses,” Buffett told shareholders at the annual meeting.
  • About two weeks after the Parkland, Florida high school shooting, Buffett said it would be “ridiculous” for Berkshire not to do business with gunmakers.

Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett defended his earlier remark that it would be “ridiculous” for the company not do business with gun manufacturers.

Buffett was speaking on Saturday at Berkshire Hathaway’s shareholder meeting. CNBC anchor Andrew Ross Sorkin relayed a question about Buffett’s comments, made about two weeks after the fatal February 14 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. According to the questioner, that Berkshire would associate itself with any company as long as it was not illegal seemed at odds with everything Buffett stood for.

“I don’t think that we should have a question on the GEICO policyholder form, ‘are you an NRA member?,’ you know, if you are you just aren’t good enough for us,” Buffett said.

“I do not believe in imposing my political opinions on the activities of our businesses, and if we get into what companies are pure and which ones aren’t pure, I think it is very difficult to make that call.”

He noted that although he’s spoken frankly about gun control, his personal views on the issue should not reflect on Berkshire Hathaway’s business.

“At the parent company level, we have never made a political contribution,” Buffett said.

After the fatal Parkland school shooting, BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager, announced it would offer twoexchange-traded funds (ETFs) and a line of pension plans that do not include companies that manufacture or sell civilian firearms. Vanguard, the second-largest provider of ETFs, said it met with gun manufacturers and distributors after the shooting.

Follow along with all of Business Insider’s coverage of the Berkshire Hathaway meeting.

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