Stag Arms May Not Be Leaving Connecticut

I stopped by the Stag Arms booth at the NRA Annual Meeting on Friday. Given that their CEO, Mark Malkowski, had previously said they were leaving Connecticut and that the choice had come down to either the Houston area or Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, I wanted to find out if there had been any movement on that. Of course, I was hoping to hear Myrtle Beach.

If the company representative with whom I spoke is correct, there won’t be any movement. As in, they have decided to stay in Connecticut. He said they have four facilities in the New Britain area and they have decided it will be too expensive to move. The irony of this situation is that the firearms they manufacture can’t be sold in that state.

I should caution that this didn’t come from Mark Malkowski but rather from a representative at their booth. I will be following up with an email to the company to get confirmation.

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?

Beretta Reported To Be Looking At Central Georgia

The Thomaston (GA) Times is reporting that Beretta was scouting central Georgia as a potential spot for relocation. The Thomaston-Upson Industrial Development Authority had reported last week that a prospect codenamed Project Clover had toured the area and the Central Georgia Business and Technology Park. They confirmed it was a firearms company.

Later in a joint meeting between the Upson County commissioners and town councils for Thomaston and Yatesville, the head of the county commission said the Project Clover was actually Beretta.

During a joint meeting of the Upson County Board of Commissioners (BOC) and the Thomaston and Yatesville city councils Tuesday night, Commission Chairman Rusty Blackston and Mayor Hays Arnold, both members of TUIDA, told the crowd the potential industry is Beretta Firearms.

“We had a very good prospect that, in my impression, is very interested in Upson County,” said Blackston. “They said we could go ahead and make it known to the public who they are. Beretta Firearms is looking to move to Upson County, which would be an impact of approximately 400 to 450 jobs on startup. That would put us on the global market.”

“Let’s make it clear, they have not decided on Thomaston-Upson County,” cautioned Arnold. “But, we are extremely high-ranking on their list at this point in time.”

The executive director of the TUIDA, Kyle Fletcher, said that Beretta was given an overview of the community on everything ranging from healthcare to the new fine arts auditorium. She especially emphasized the employee training opportunities offered through Southern Crescent Technical College’s Training Facility. According to their website, the college does offer programs in CNC Technology and Machine Tool Technology.

Thomaston and Upson County are located almost in the middle of a triangle formed by Atlanta to the north, Macon to the east, and Columbus to the west.

It should be pointed out that even if Beretta does open operations in Georgia they are not likely to stop production for the foreseeable future in Maryland despite that state’s laws. Jeff Reh has stated many times that Beretta has certain obligations to the US military for production of the M9 pistol that would be disrupted if they moved that plant. Beretta has also stated that with the passage of Maryland’s new gun laws that they shelved any plans for expansion of the Accokeek plant.

It was long thought that Beretta would probably do any expansion near their existing operations in Spotsylvania, Virginia. However, plans for a Virginia Railway Express station and a mixed-use development which are adjacent to the Spotsylvania operation have caused Beretta to look elsewhere.

(Jeff) Reh said he understands why Spotsylvania officials chose that site for the VRE station, and why they approved the mixed-use development. But he said Beretta doesn’t want to expand in an area that will be densely populated.

He said the company doesn’t plan to close its existing distribution center but is looking elsewhere for an expansion that could mean a $10 million investment and 50 new jobs.

Reh didn’t offer specifics about the expansion, but according to a letter he wrote to Spotsylvania officials in 2011, the company has plans for a new facility for “the manufacturing of industrial components and testing, either below ground or above ground, of firearms manufactured by Beretta U.S.A. Corp.”

Reh said the company is looking for about 100 acres for the expansion and is considering sites in seven states with laws friendly to firearms manufacturers and the Second Amendment: Virginia, North Carolina, Kentucky, South Carolina, Tennessee, Georgia and Texas. He said he was looking at sites in the Warrenton area this week and has met previously with Caroline County officials.

West Virginia would have been on the list except for Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV).

Not Just Famous For Country Music

Nashville, Tennessee is justly famous as being the center of country music. It is home to both the Grand Ole Opry and the Country Music Hall of Fame. And, if the rumors being reported by The Tennessean are correct, the future home to a major Remington Arms manufacturing plant.

One of the nation’s largest gun manufacturers, Remington Arms, has looked at sites around Nashville for a potential corporate relocation or expansion that would likely include hundreds of manufacturing jobs.

The Madison, N.C.-based company, which is part of the nation’s largest firearms company and has its largest plant in Ilion, N.Y, has scouted sites near Nashville’s airport, Lebanon and in Clarksville, Tenn.

Why Nashville?

According to the story, a plant in Middle Tennessee would place it between their plants in Lonoke, AR and Mayfield, KY. Moreover, it would only be a 2 hour drive to their technical and research center in Elizabethton, KY. They also have a distribution center run by a third party in Memphis.

An expanded article in today’s Tennessean notes that owners of industrial locations are having their properties scouted.

Reports about Remington’s search for sites come as owners of large tracts of land and economic development officials said they’re seeing more corporate relocation and other prospects in Middle Tennessee. Within the past two months, local real estate investor and developer Bert Mathews has encountered unidentified prospects at his 180-acre Buchanan Point site near Nashville International Airport off Interstate 40.

They include a 50-acre user, a 10-acre user and other users that had sought space for a 250,000-square-foot building. “Everybody’s looking at Nashville,” said Mathews, also a past chairman of the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce.

Local and regional economic development officials were mum when asked about Remington’s search. “It is the policy of the Clarksville-Montgomery County Economic Development Council to refrain from discussing business recruitment projects, whether they be rumored or real,” said spokeswoman Robin Burton.

If Remington chooses to relocate operations from New York, it would add to the list of companies doing or planning to do so in part to protest stricter gun laws.

I should emphasize that these are only rumors but I doubt The Tennessean would have run a story specifically naming Remington Arms unless they had a solid source confirming the visits by Remington.

On the face of it, Middle Tennesse makes sense. You have engineering programs at Vanderbilt and Tennessee State along with engineering programs at Tennessee Tech, the University of Tennessee, and the University of Memphis which are within easy driving distance. You have a transportation hub with the intersection of Interstates 24, 40, and 65 and a good airport. And you have a gun-friendly, business-friendly right-to-work state.

What’s not to like about all of that if you are in the firearms industry?

Jobs And Ideology, Part 2

You can add certain legislators in the state of Colorado who care more about their gun prohibitionist ideology than they do about jobs for state residents. As the press release from Magpul makes clear, if Colorado HB 1224 passes, Magpul will have to cease operations in that state effective July 1st. This would eliminate 200 direct jobs and up to another 700 jobs at subcontractors and suppliers.

Factories and machinery can be relocated to other states much more readily nowadays. The Governor’s Office of Economic Development in South Dakota which is a mere one state away has a special program to attract companies in the firearms and shooting industry. Likewise, Texas which is also just one state away from Colorado has a strong business climate and a very pro-Second Amendment state government. I’m sure adjoining states like Kansas and especially Wyoming are already preparing packets to send to Magpul if any of these bills pass.

Too bad some legislators care more about their misguided ideologies than they do about good paying jobs.


In addition to the national battle to protect our firearms rights, many states are currently engaged in their own fights. Here in CO, a state with a strong heritage of firearm and other personal freedoms, we are facing some extreme challenges to firearms rights. We have been engaged in dialogue with legislators here presenting our arguments to stop legislation from even being introduced, but our efforts did not deter those of extreme views.

After the NRAs visit last week, several anti-freedom bills were introduced by CO legislators, and a very aggressive timeline has been set forth in moving these bills forward.

The bills include:
HB 1229, Background checks for Gun Transfers–a measure to prohibit private sales between CO residents, and instead require a full FFL transfer, including a 4473.

HB 1228, Payment for Background Checks for Gun Transfers– a measure that would require CO residents to pay for the back logged state-run CBI system (currently taking 3 times the federally mandated wait time for checks to occur) instead of using the free federal NICS checks.

And finally, HB 1224, Prohibiting Large Capacity Ammunition Magazines–a measure that bans the possession, sale, or transfer of magazines over 10 round capacity. The measures and stipulations in this bill would deprive CO residents of the value of their private property by prohibiting the sale or transfer of all magazines over 10 rounds. This bill would also prohibit manufacture of magazines greater than 10 rounds for commercial sale out of the state, and place restrictions on the manufacture of military and law enforcement magazines that would cripple production.

We’d like to ask all CO residents to please contact your state legislators and the members of the Judiciary Committee and urge them to kill these measures in committee, and to vote NO if they reach the floor.

We also ask you to show your support for the 2nd Amendment at the Capitol on Tuesday, Feb 12, for the magazine ban committee hearing and Wednesday,
Feb 13, for the hearing on the other measures.

Due to the highly restrictive language in HB 1224, if passed, and we remained here, this measure would require us to cease PMAG production on July 1, 2013.

In short, Magpul would be unable to remain in business as a CO company, and the over 200 jobs for direct employees and nearly 700 jobs at our subcontractors and suppliers would pick up and leave CO. Due to the structure of our operations, this would be entirely possible, hopefully without significant disruption to production.

The legislators drafting these measures do so in spite of the fact that nothing they are proposing will do anything to even marginally improve public safety in CO, and in fact, will leave law-abiding CO residents less able to defend themselves, strip away rights and property from residents who have done nothing wrong, and send nearly 1000 jobs and millions in tax revenue out of the state.

We like CO, we want to continue to operate in CO, but most of all, we want CO to remain FREE.

Please help us in this fight, and let your voices be heard!

We have included the contact information for the House Judiciary committee for your convenience:

House Judiciary Committee
Rep. Daniel Kagan, Chair: 303-866-2921, repkagan@gmail.com
Rep. Pete Lee, Vice Chair: 303-866-2932, pete.lee.house@state.co.us
Rep. John Buckner: 303-866-2944, john.buckner.house@state.co.us
Rep. Lois Court: 303-866-2967, lois.court.house@state.co.us
Rep. Bob Gardner, 303-866-2191, bob.gardner.house@state.co.us
Rep. Polly Lawrence, 303-866-2935, polly.lawrence.house@state.co.us

Boston Globe: Extreme Gun Control And Gun Manufacturing Can Co-Exist

The Boston Globe ran an editorial today discussing the potential for firearms manufacturers located in New England to leave for more gun friendly states if the Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island legislatures adopt micro-stamping legislation.

Colt’s management has already told Connecticut back in 2009 that they will be relocating if the state did adopt the requirement for micro-stamping.

After devoting a full paragraph to how easily micro-stamping can be defeated and that it has questionable utility in the first place, the Boston Globe editors essentially tell the gun manufacturers to sit down, shut up, and put up with this intrusion into their manufacturing practices.

While firearms manufacturers have a right to lobby against this legislation and explain their objections to it, it is inappropriate to wield the jobs of hundreds of workers as a weapon. Micro-stamping does not place any significant burden on the sale or manufacture of guns. It is not a ban or an arduous tax. It merely requires the engraving of a serial number in one more place on the weapon. If a state legislature decides micro-stamping is appropriate, it should not be forced to choose between citizens’ lives and citizens’ livelihood.

The Globe’s editors don’t get it. They want to eat their cake and have it, too. They want to have onerous gun control and they want the well-paying jobs provided by the gun industry. Sorry guys but it doesn’t work that way.

There are many other states with good industrial locations, great industrial training programs, and which are gun friendly who would love to have the Colt’s, the Smith and Wesson’s, the Mossberg’s, and Ruger’s of the gun industry relocate to their state. Even the New York Times – the owner of the Boston Globe – recognizes this in a recent story.

The Globe concludes:

Massachusetts has had gun-control laws for almost three centuries, and the Connecticut River Valley has been a center of gun-making since George Washington established an armory in Springfield. There is no reason that both gun control and gun manufacturing cannot co-exist for the next few centuries as well.

Inertia and the existence of a well-trained force of machinists and gunsmiths is one reason that the gun industry has remained in the Northeast. However, if these states think inertia will keep the gun industry in a place that treats them like something the cat drug in, they are sadly mistaken.

UPDATE: For two other takes on the Boston Globe editorial, there are posts by Kurt Hofmann, the St. Louis Gun Rights Examiner, and by Sebastian at Snowflakes in Hell.

Kurt notes that:

Industries have no moral obligation to remain in states (or countries, for that matter) that actively work against them. They have every right to move their tax dollars and good jobs to states that won’t use those resources to implement and enforce laws that work directly against the industries’ interests.

Sebastian takes apart their claim that Massachusetts has had 300 years of gun control.

The Globe describes gun control in New England as a “centuries old tradition”. Reality is, it’s not even a century old tradition, at least not for the kind of gun laws that the Globe regularly speaks in favor of. Most of it, in fact, is less than a half-century old, and much less than 25. Centuries old Boston gun control was regulating where and how one could set up for target practice on Boston Commons, or the old Boston ordinance that said if you’re going to store your rifle, musket, pistol, bomb grenade or artillery piece, it would be nice if you stored it unloaded/deactivated so as not to cause fire hazards. It was still, until the 20th century, legal to carry a loaded pistol around Boston. Does the Globe favor returning to that gun control tradition?