It’s difficult to comprehend the devastating blow that’s been dealt to companies in storied Gun Valley. In early April, the governor of Connecticut and the state’s legislators outlawed many of the firearms made in the state. This is a notable event, given the nation’s gun industry began in the Connecticut River Valley in the 1800s.
Yes, it was a heavy blow when Gov. Dannel Malloy signed the legislation that enacted the sweeping gun laws, but he added a slap in the face when he accused the industry on national television of not caring who they sold firearms to: “… even if they are mentally ill, even if they have a criminal background. They don’t care.”
In a March 18 editorial for The Hartford Courant, Dennis Veilleux, president and CEO of Colt’s Manufacturing, wrote, “I know one thing that the governor’s proposed ban will do: It will irreparably damage — if not destroy — the brand of any Connecticut firearms manufacturer.”
While it’s easy for Internet bloggers to tell Colt, O.F. Mossberg & Sons, Stag Arms and other manufacturers of modern sporting rifles to get out of the state, that is no easy task.
“Colt is and always has been an integral part of a state characterized by hard work, perseverance and ingenuity,” Veilleux wrote in The Hartford Courant. “I know, however, that someday soon, I will again be asked why we fight to keep well-paying manufacturing jobs in Connecticut. I will be asked why we should continue to manufacture in a state where the governor would make ownership of our product a felony.”
PTR Industries, a manufacturer of modern sporting rifles in Bristol, Conn., has announced it will leave the state. In a statement dated April 9, Joshua W. Fiorinia, CEO, and John McNamara, vice president of sales, outlined why the company is moving.
“The rights of the citizens of Connecticut have been trampled upon. … Finally, due to an improperly drafted bill, manufacturing of modern sporting rifles in the State of Connecticut has been effectively outlawed. With a heavy heart but a clear mind, we have been forced to decide that our business can no longer survive in Connecticut — the former Constitution state,” read the statement.
Beretta, along with its sister company, Benelli and all its brands, face a similar challenge in Maryland, as does Remington in New York.
In Colorado, Magpul Industries Corp. announced it would leave the state following passage of gun-control restrictions in March. HiViz Shooting Systems, located in Fort Collins, Colo., announced it also would relocate.
“Colorado is a beautiful state with great people, but we cannot in clear conscience support with our taxes a state that has proven through recent legislation a willingness to infringe upon the constitutional rights of our customer base,” said Phillip Howe, HiViz president and CEO.
Come On Down
There is no shortage of states actively encouraging Gun Valley firearm companies, and those in Colorado, Maryland, New Jersey and New York, to move to “gun-friendly” territory. From Virginia to Texas to Wyoming, state agencies have ramped up their “You’re Welcome Here” message.
Following PTR Industries’ announcement that they would leave Connecticut, Texas Governor Rick Perry sent the company a tweet: “Hey, PTR. Texas is still wide open for business! Come on down!”
These are historical times. Yes, we’ve faced harsh anti-gun/anti-industry assaults before, but nothing like we are experiencing now. There is still a lot to be done. Lawsuits will correct some provisions and others may be mitigated through counter-legislation, but there will still be much damage. You can help by letting your congressmen and senators know where you stand, and fight anti-gun/anti-industry assaults in your state, county and community.
This isn’t “someone else’s fight.”
Start here: www.nssf.org/govrel.
Pulling Their Hair Out
I’ve received a number of emails and phone calls from manufacturers and distributors recommending we publish an article outlining what products can or cannot be shipped to states that have enacted new anti-gun laws. Given the patched-together laws, which often contradict themselves, company sales staffs are in a quandary.
“They’re pulling their hair out over what they can and cannot ship to New York, Connecticut, Colorado and Maryland,” one company rep wrote. “Dealers want us to ship new orders before the laws ‘take effect.’ Other dealers say we can ship orders that they placed before the changes because of grandfather clauses. We don’t want to break any laws, and we don’t want our dealers or their customers to get in trouble.”
I appreciate the confidence these folks have in our ability to make sense of all of this. It’s not likely anyone knows how to handle all the situations. The major problem: It’s a moving target, with dos and don’ts changing within states, and states differing greatly with neighboring states.
Thus, my problem: Before an article’s ink is dry, the information is inaccurate, which would add to the confusion, and potentially hurt manufacturers, distributors and dealers — perhaps quite seriously, if they break a law that may or may not have been in effect two minutes ago.
We would welcome anyone’s help in this matter, and we will share it with our readers. Email me: email@example.com.
By Russ Thurman
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