Is The South Becoming The New Gun Valley?
Is the heart of U.S. firearms manufacturing migrating to the South? It looks that way as numerous firearms companies have either moved or expanded their operations in Southern states.
Ruger has built a new manufacturing facility in Mayodan, N.C. Announced last August, Ruger is investing $26 million in the new plant and creating 450 jobs.
“Advanced manufacturing companies like Ruger know North Carolina is just the place for their company to grow and flourish,” said North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory.
“Ruger has created 900 jobs over the last five years and we hope to continue this growth in Mayodan,” said Mike Fifer, Ruger president and CEO. “There is a phenomenal work force in the area. The response has been tremendous and the caliber of the potential employees is really impressive.”
Beretta USA announced in January it is expanding its U.S. operations by building a new firearms manufacturing plant in Gallatin, Tenn. The company will invest $45 million in the manufacturing and R&D facility, while creating 300 jobs.
“Attracting a legendary company like Beretta reinforces our goal of becoming the number one location in the Southeast for high-quality jobs,” said Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam.
“We are convinced we could find no better place than Tennessee to establish our new manufacturing enterprise. We look forward to building operations here and being part of your community for many years to come,” said Franco Gussalli Beretta, Fabbrica d’Armi S.p.A VP and managing director, and Beretta USA executive VP.
Remington announced in Feb. it is expanding its operation to Huntsville, Ala., with the purchase of an old Chrysler building.
“Today’s announcement will create more than 2,000 jobs in Huntsville, and reflects a statewide capital investment of $110 million. Our relationship with Remington is just beginning, and I look forward to a continued partnership with the company,” said Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley.
“With demand for our products at a historic high and more new product launches planned for 2014 than ever before in our 200-year history, we are investing in the future,” said George Kollitides, Remington Outdoor Co. chairman and CEO.
Last year, PTR Industries moved to Aynor, S.C., from Bristol, Conn. after the state passed significant gun-restriction laws.
American Tactical Imports announced last fall that it was relocating from Rochester, N.Y., to Summerville, S.C.
Forced To Move
These new Southern companies join numerous firearm businesses based in the South.
Glock Inc. has long made its USA home in Smyrna, Ga.
Daniel Defense has major facilities in Bryan County, Ga., and Ridgeland, S.C. In January the company announced plans for a five-year, $20-million expansion of its Georgia operation.
Steyr Arms, an Alabama-based company, began operating from its new 33,000-square-foot headquarters complex in Bessemer, Ala., earlier this year.
FNH USA manufactures all its FN handguns, excluding the FN Five-seveN, in its Columbia, S.C., facility.
A few of the other firearms companies — but not all — located in the South are Heckler & Koch, Columbus, Ga.; Ithaca Gun Co., Horry County, S.C.; MasterPiece Arms, Comer, Ga.; and Para, Charlotte, N.C.
Yes, some of the movement of firearm companies to the South is a result of normal expansion. However, make no mistake — a number of these moves are a result of repressive gun laws. “We were forced into this position by a state government that preferred easy political points and pandering to actual improvements in public safety and certainly economic development,” said Josh Fiorini, PTR Industries CEO, during the announcement of the company’s relocation to South Carolina.
Fiorini, of course, was referring to the harsh anti-gun laws passed last year in Conneticut. In addition to the strict gun-control regulations, Connecticut Gov. Dan Malloy, during a CNN interview, accused the industry of wanting to sell guns to anyone, “… even if they’re deranged, mentally ill … .”
In a letter published in the Washington Times, Ugo Gussalli Beretta, Beretta Holdings S.p.A president and CEO, made it clear the new gun laws in Maryland, where Beretta is headquartered, prompted the company to look elsewhere to expand.
“Because of these new restrictions and the pattern of harassment aimed at lawful firearm owners we have seen in Maryland over the decades, we decided to expand our facilities in a state that shows more respect for citizens who exercise their Second Amendment rights,” Beretta said.
What of other firearms manufacturers located in Connecticut and New York? They may not close down their operations and move elsewhere, but they will likely not expand to any significant level in these anti-gun/anti-industry states. In the case of Kahr, it is moving its New York operation to Pike County, Penn.
Elsewhere, because of increased anti-gun laws, Magpul is relocating from Colorado to Texas and Wyoming.
Y’all Are Welcome Here
For many years, numerous states have campaigned heavily to have firearms and other industry-related companies relocate inside their “gun-friendly” borders. Ironically, the states in the traditional South were not often mentioned.
Today, however, the South has become the real power player in the relocation and new-business competition, far outdistancing other regions in welcoming the industry to their states.
It’s likely there will be additional relocations from “unfriendly gun states,” with other companies moving South to enjoy a friendly business climate, along with extra servings of Southern hospitality. It’s well on its way to becoming the New Gun Valley.
The Gun StoreMaster MarketView feature offers dealers multiple
options that are especially helpful in used firearm transactions.
Gun StoreMaster Strengthens Retail Operations
Dealers, here is an opportunity to change the way your gun store operates using “Gun StoreMaster,” developed by Three Circle Software LLC.
“Beyond managing the acquisition and disposition transactions, which we consider ‘the basics,’ our objective is to strengthen firearm retail businesses via software services focused on better buying, selling and management practices,” said Steve Harris, company CEO.
Gun StoreMaster’s Marketview feature, according to Harris, is a one-stop tool to quickly determine the present “market-view” of a firearm.
“The dealer can start the purchase from their distributor of choice, buy from a private party or get additional detailed information about any firearm,” Harris said. “This is especially helpful for valuing used firearm purchases or sales. We’re working to be as inclusive to distributors, auction sites, media, manufacturers, etc., as possible. We have to be a ‘universal translator’ between many different groups.”
In addition, the company offers acquisition and disposition management through its “eSAFE” Bound Book.
“From one spot you can manage action for the firearm, such as acquisitions, dispositions, ATF trace requests, edits, research (goes right to MarketView), etc. This information is tied into QuickBooks Point of Sale for dealers that use QBPOS,” Harris said. “It’s more affordable than many others. This should help ‘mom and pop’ businesses transition into technology without such a large financial barrier, or provide options for people not satisfied with their current system.”
Three Circle Software LLC offers a free demo and test drive of Gun StoreMaster on the company’s website.
“WeAreWeatherby” Ads Draw Attention
In the “WeAreWeatherby” online sweepstakes, Jessie Duff won round one. Round two has begun. The sweepstakes offers consumers the opportunity to vote for their favorite Team Weatherby ad and win a Vanguard Series 2 Synthetic Package.
The ads, which can be viewed at www.weareweatherby.com, feature nine Team Weatherby members and special messages. They include:
• Ed Weatherby, Weatherby president and CEO — “We Are Weatherby,”
• Willie Bloomquist, Major League Baseball player — “Safe at Home,”
• Luke Branquinho, Professional Rodeo World Champion — “Legendary,”
• Bear Pascoe, NFL player — “Unstoppable.”
What is the message on the ad featuring Jesse Duff, champion competitive pistol shooter? “Fastest Gun in Town.” Perfect.
Salutes to Weatherby for a great sweepstakes idea that is drawing a lot of consumer attention — and visits to the company’s website.
American Tactical Giving Customers $50
American Tactical is offering consumers a $50 rebate on the purchase of a new GSG STG-44. The program is designed to boost sales at the dealer level and serves as a thank-you to American Tactical customers.
To be eligible for the rebate, consumers must have purchased a new GSG STG-44 from Feb. 1, 2014 through May 31, 2014.
Full details are available on the company’s website, along with information on American Tactical’s inventory of firearms, optics, apparel, bags and packs, and accessories.
By Russ Thurman
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