iShares Launches Gun Free ETF

iShares Launches Gun Free ETF

New fund uses the ‘ESG Optimized’ methodology that excludes civilian firearms manufacturers and retailers.
Reviewed by: Staff
Edited by: Staff

Today, BlackRock’s iShares arm is rolling out a small-cap socially responsible ETF that is explicitly designed to exclude companies that manufacture and sell civilian firearms.

The iShares MSCI USA Small-Cap ESG Optimized ETF (ESML) is part of iShares’ larger ESG ETF family, which, in the wake of the school massacre in Parkland, Florida, has altered its methodology to entirely exclude makers of civilian firearms or any retailer that earns more than $20 million or 5% of their total revenue from the sale of civilian firearms.  

ESML comes with an expense ratio of 0.17% and lists on Cboe Global Markets, the parent company of


The fund tracks the MSCI USA Small Cap Extended ESG Focus Index, which is derived from the MSCI USA Small Cap Index that represents the bottom 14% of the market capitalization of U.S. equities.

In addition to excluding companies involved with the production and sale of civilian firearms, the methodology also screens out companies that have business lines related to controversial weapons, tobacco or severe business controversies, according to the prospectus.

The overall methodology takes an industry-focused approach by identifying the important ESG-related issues that could give a company in the space an advantage or disadvantage. It rates each company based on its exposure to those identified issues and how it addresses them. Within each sector, companies are scored and weighted using this evaluation relative to their peers.

ESML is the fourth fund in iShares’ “ESG Optimized” family, which also includes the following:

Contact Heather Bell at [email protected] is the single source for ETF intelligence. We provide real-time ETF news and analysis to educate investors and drive financial knowledge in the space. Our personalized and accurate information, alongside industry-leading financial tools, are depended upon to develop winning investment and financial decisions. At, we strive to serve both the individual investor as well as the professional financial advisor to educate and grow the ETF community.