The cover of today’s Hartford Courant featured the following headline – “America’s Rifle”: Factories Boom. Under the title the subtitle read, “As Debate Goes On, State Gun-Makers Cash In On Popular AR-15.”
Reporter Dan Haar of the Courant had two stories regarding the AR-15 and the role that Connecticut gun makers have in producing it. Both stories were well-balanced and fair. While the Violence Policy Center and Josh Sugarmann got quoted, so too did the heads of Colt, Stag Arms, and Mossberg.
The first story concentrated on the investments that Connecticut firearms manufacturers have made in upgrading plant and equipment. Combined the companies have spent well over $50 million in upgrading their plants with most of the investment going towards making the AR-15. Given that investment, the head of Mossberg agreed that it would be hard to up and leave the state even if they couldn’t sell rifles there. That said, the crap they are getting from their own legislators doesn’t give them a warm and cozy feeling.
Echoing other local owners and executives, Bartozzi said Mossberg would never threaten to pick up and leave if Connecticut were to adopt a strict ban. “That is not our style,” he said, and besides, he added, it’s not only a history the company has in Connecticut but more to the point, a skilled and loyal workforce.
“It is damn hard to move a factory,” he said.
On the other hand, Bartozzi said, “To say that Mossberg is not looking at other options would be wrong. … I’m not feeling a lot of love from many of our legislators. It’s getting tiring. It really is getting tiring. … It takes a lot out of you.”
Mossberg, with a factory of similar size in Texas, has had active talks with officials from Southern states trying to drive a wedge between the firm and its home state. All of the firms have similar stories.
The second story by Haar looked at the history of the AR-15 and its rise in popularity. He did a good job of examining the versatility of the AR as contrasted to its “military cosmetics”. The article did an excellent job in looking at the development of the AR-15 by ArmaLite which was an offshoot from Fairchild Engine and Airplane Corp., the role of Colt in licensing the design, and how other companies entered the field.
I don’t normally say good things about the mainstream media but in this case, the Hartford Courant and Dan Haar, did an excellent job. Just as importantly, they played it straight and they got their facts right.