Interesting Choice For Stag Arms – Houston or Myrtle Beach?

Mark Malkowski, President of Stag Arms, has an interesting choice to make. According to an announcement he made this past Friday, Malkowski has narrowed the choice for where Stag expands to either Houston, Texas or the Myrtle Beach area of South Carolina. The ultimate decision will be made by the end of this month.

“South Carolina is very competitive,” Mark Malkowski said of what the state has to offer his company versus that put forward by the Lone Star State. “At this point, we’re spending our time evaluating the offers.”

 Assuming both states come up with comparable financial incentives, what advantages would Houston offer over Horry County (the H is silent)?

Houston would offer two major airports, two major universities with engineering schools, a number of technically skilled workers available with the downsizing of NASA, and all the amenities of a major metropolitan area including world-class healthcare facilities. The downside is that property taxes are higher, real estate and rents are more expensive, and, most importantly, wages tend to be higher. The overall cost of living as calculated by numerous cost of living calculators is about the same.

What about Myrtle Beach and Horry County?

First and foremost, it is closer to Connecticut. That was one of the deciding factors for PTR Industries when they relocated to Horry County.Workers that relocated from Connecticut are still within a long day’s driving distance of their relatives up north. Horry County officials are hoping that works in their favor.

Brad Lofton, CEO of the Myrtle Beach Regional Economic Development Corp., agreed that Horry County compares favorably in most areas with Texas, but hoped that Horry’s proximity to Stag’s Connecticut plant, quality of life and short distance to customers in Columbia and elsewhere in the Southeast could be the points that will sell Malkowski.

Both states have supportive Republican governors, good gun laws, and a welcoming business climate. Ultimately, I think it will come down to the intangibles such as quality of life. In other words, do they want to live at the beach or live in a major metropolis?

Armed Citizens Project Trains And Arms First Class In Houston

I had a chance to sit down and discuss the Armed Citizens Project with Kyle Coplen while at the NRA Annual Meeting. My initial concerns were about their choice of shotgun and training of recipients. Earlier reports had them planning to give out single shot break action shotguns. Kyle said that they had switched to pump action shotguns in 12 and 20 gauge and that everyone who received a shotgun would have to go through a training class.

If I remember correctly, he said their first purchases were the IAC Hawk 12 gauge due to cost. However, their intention is to standardize on one model of shotgun that is made in the United States such as the Maverick 88 from Mossberg. The Armed Citizens Project was hoping that manufacturers would work with them to obtain shotguns at a discount.

Thus, it is with great interest that I read in the release below that they have just finished their first class and first gifts of shotguns to 10 families in Houston, Texas.

Houston – May 6, 2013 – The Armed Citizen Project officially began to arm the citizens of the Oak Forest neighborhood in Houston last night. Ten residents from the neighborhood, which is the third largest subdivision in Harris County, were just the first to complete the safety and tactical course and will later be armed with either a 20- or 12-gauge shotgun. The organization hopes to place as many as 100 shotguns in the neighborhood.

The four-hour training session took place at the Arms Room in League City, TX. There, these citizens were given safety, tactical, and legal training as well as range time in order to practice using their weapon.

The nonprofit group, launched by University of Houston student Kyle Coplen, is funded by private donations made through its website. It’s dedicated to empowering citizens and deterring crime by providing free training and shotguns to residents in moderate- to high-crime areas.

“I want the criminals to be looking at it like they’re playing Russian roulette with their lives,” says the 29-year-old public administration graduate student. “If they decide to break into a home, they have no idea whether it’s one that’s armed or one that’s not.”

The group will continue to arm the neighborhood for the next few weeks. Classes are limited to ten persons at a time in order to ensure that each individual is thoroughly trained in the responsible use of the firearm.

I like what they are doing for the residents of poor neighborhoods beset by crime. I know they have plans to expand to New York and Chicago among other places.