Unwelcome in Connecticut, gun makers continue to be courted

Connecticut’s liberal stand on gun control is costing it business as gun manufacturers move out of consider expanding their operations, maintaining their Connecticut presence or abandoning the state all together.

That’s a not-so-surprising report, given the level of acrimony the Newtown, Conn., school shooting generated among the anti-Second Amendment crowd, but it does come from a surprising source: Friday’s edition of the New York Times.

The story is built around gun manufacturer Mark Malkowski, owner of Stag Arms who started in Connecticut but is now seriously thinking of leaving.

“He started a manufacturing company at age 25, and in 10 years built it into an industry leader, with 200 employees, that sells 6,000 of its products every month at roughly $1,000 each. The company, Stag Arms, is currently almost a year behind in fulfilling orders.

“But when you are manufacturing AR-15 assault rifles 40 miles from Newtown in a state that has banned their sale, it is not surprising that things are more complicated   …

“PTR Industries of Bristol, which also manufactures military-style rifles, has already announced it will move from Connecticut. Sturm Ruger & Co. has said it plans to keep its headquarters, with a staff of fewer than 50 people, in Fairfield while continuing to expand its manufacturing outside Connecticut.”

For the Times, the story is pretty balanced. And, maybe even in spite of itself, the Times makes the point. If Connecticut doesn’t want these successful manufacturers of a legal product intimately entwined with the history of this country, other states surely do.

“Mr. Malkowski’s roots are in Connecticut, where he grew up and graduated from Southington High School and Sacred Heart University. But at the National Rifle Association convention in early May he got a personal pitch to relocate from Rick Perry, the governor of Texas, and he has received solicitations from more than 50 states or municipalities.”

In April, he said, a lobbying trip to Washington showed him how eager other states were to get him to move.

“Senator Lindsey Graham did it, so did Paul Ryan, Texas, Oklahoma, well, all of them,” he told the Times.

According to the Times, Connecticut seventh in state production of firearms. It is home to Colt’s Manufacturing, Sturm, Ruger & Co. and Mossberg & Sons.

With other states courting their business, it will be interesting to see how long they stay.

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