Connecticut Gun Maker Leaving State Over New Anti-Gun Laws, Possibly More Following

When the Colorado legislature began proposing one anti-gun law after another, several firearms related companies told them that they would take their businesses out of the state if the laws were passed.  Ignoring the warnings and not caring about jobs or over a $1 million in sales a year, the legislature went ahead and passed the laws.

Consequently, MagPul and HiViz Shooting Systems have both announced plans to relocate their companies to another state that is more gun friendly.  I advocated at that time that all of the firearm related companies in other states, especially Connecticut and New York follow suit and move to a different state.

Like Colorado, Connecticut has enacted a plethora of anti-gun laws in reaction to the December shootings in Newtown.  Many of the laws passed here are in direct violation of the Second Amendment, but that didn’t stop them from being passed.  When anti-gun politicians continue to act on emotions rather than logic and law, anything can get made into law, and that’s exactly what’s happening.

Connecticut is a very small state which means it has to rely on a smaller number of businesses as a source of jobs and revenue than other larger states.  Yet, some of the largest gun manufacturers are located within the tiny boundaries of Connecticut.  Companies such as Colt, Marlin, Mossberg, Ruger and United States Fire Arms, are all located there along with a number of smaller companies.

At least one firearms company in Connecticut is following the examples set in Colorado.  On April 9, PTR Firearms posted on their website that they have made the decision to move the company to another, as yet unnamed state.  So far, most of their 40 or so employees have said that they would relocate with the company.  Their statement reads:

“This past week an historic and highly controversial bill was passed by the State of Connecticut which will have far reaching consequences to the state, its citizens, and businesses. The bill we refer to is Bill No. 1160, AN ACT CONCERNING GUN VIOLENCE PREVENTION AND CHILDRENS SAFETY. This bill purports to reduce gun violence by banning hardware responsible for less than 3% of homicides in 2011; and claims to increase children’s safety by restricting the ability of those most responsible for it – their parents – to defend them.”

“As a firearms manufacturing firm, our industrial roots reach deep in the State of CT. Along with other companies in the trade, we were deeply apprehensive at the hurried process to develop new gun laws and fearful that it would generate unintended consequences for our industry. On Thursday April 4th 2013, upon reading the full text of Bill 1160, our worst fears were confirmed. What emerged was a bill fraught with ambiguous definitions, insufficient considerations for the trade, conflicting mandates, and disastrous consequences for the fundamental rights of the people of CT.”

“The magnitude of the constitutional and economic importance of this bill is such that the disregard for public input (in the final version), and the haphazard production of the legislation should be insulting to any citizen or business in CT. It should be a shock to us all that such landmark legislation could be written in one week, and seen by no one (including the rank-and-file legislators) prior to its emergency certification. Having been present in the deliberations in both legislative chambers, it was clear that a majority of our legislators had not even read the bill – and those that had read it had only a cursory understanding.”

“The process with which this legislation proceeded, along with the language that resulted gives us no confidence that this will be the last violation of our rights in our beloved home state, and we only hope that this does not set a precedent at a national level.”

“The rights of the citizens of CT have been trampled upon. The safety of its children is at best questionably improved from the day of the tragedy that triggered the events that lead us here. Finally, due to an improperly drafted bill, manufacturing of modern sporting rifles in the State of CT has been effectively outlawed. With a heavy heart but a clear mind, we have been forced to decide that our business can no longer survive in Connecticut – the former Constitution state.”

“Furthermore, we feel that our industry as a whole will continue to be threatened so long as it remains in a state where its elected leaders have no regard for the rights of those who produce and manufacture its wealth. We are making a call to all involved in our industry to leave this state, close your doors and show our politicians the true consequences of their hasty and uninformed actions. We encourage those in our industry to abandon this state as its leaders have abandoned the proud heritage that forged our freedom.”

“Although PTR has not decided upon a specific relocation site at this time, over the coming weeks the company will be actively considering offers from states that are friendly to the industry. We hope to have a site identified within the next six weeks, and hope to have our move completed by the end of this year. We plan to keep our business partners informed on the status of our move throughout this process in order to affect a smooth transition.”

“We have extended the invitation to join us in the move to all of our employees, as well as all of our vendors. We are pleased to say that we currently have commitments to move from a majority of our employees, which includes ALL of our management personnel, engineering staff and skilled gunsmiths.”

“It is our hope and sincere belief that this move will represent a step forward for the company; and that by bringing our expertise and core personnel to combine with the business friendly policies, and a motivated local labor force from a state that respects industry and the second amendment that we can expand our operations and not only maintain – but increase the quality and reputation of our products.”

Mark Malkowski, President of Stag Arms said that his company is also exploring the possibilities of moving to another more gun friendly state.  He said that they have received a number of emails from customers saying they are fed up with Connecticut and urge his company to pack their bags and move.  Malkowski admitted that he’s been talking to Texas officials about the possibility of relocating.

Jonathan Scalise, Owner of Ammunition Storage Components says that he has been contacted by other states trying to woo him and his company to move.  Arizona, Arkansas, Kansas, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota and Texas are all vying to be the new home for his company.  Scalise said they are weighing everything very carefully along with determining the impact it would have on the 150 people they currently employ.  He commented saying:

“I have a very serious commitment to my employees, which is more than they got from their state legislators.”

Now if only the bigger companies like Colt, Marlin, Mossberg, Ruger and United States Fire Arms would all follow PTR’s example and pack their bags, perhaps that will make enough of an economic and employment impact on the state that will hurt those politicians come next election time.