Gun Manufacturing Jobs: Colorado, Connecticut Losses Could Mean Texas Gains

When Connecticut legislators passed Senate Bill 1160 on April 4, they essentially outlawed an industry that employs 3,000 state residents and generates $1.75 billion annual taxable revenues.

The state's firearms manufacturing industry, which includes Hartford-based Colt, Southport-based Sturm, Ruger and Co. and New Haven-based Mossberg & Sons, warned lawmakers all winter that if they adopted Democratic Governor Dannel Malloy's gun control package, they would move their operations elsewhere.

The first gunmaker to follow up on that threat is Bristol-based PTR Industries, which announced on April 9 on its Facebook page that it will take its 40 jobs and $50,000 weekly payroll to another city in another state.

"Due to an improperly drafted bill, manufacturing of modern sporting rifles in the state of CT has been effectively outlawed," PTR said in a statement. "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."

Stag Arms, another Connecticut-based gunmaker, is also pondering leaving the state, President Mark Malkowski told Ana Radelat of The Connecticut Mirror, in late February. On April 11, he told Mary Ellen Clark of Reuters that his New Britain-based company been approached with offers to move to Texas, Michigan, Florida, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Mississippi and Nebraska.

"My No. 1 concern is my 200 employees, with families," Malkowski said. "Some are willing to move, some are not. This is their home as well as mine."

Texas, in particular, is aggressively soliciting disgruntled gunmakers to move to the Lone Star state. Lawmakers in Austin have adopted a bill that finances efforts by local and regional economic development agencies to offer firearms incentives to relocate.

The seed money allowed the Wichita Falls Chamber of Commerce to spearhead an effort to recruit Magpul Industries to relocate to a "cost effective, politically safe" city with "a highly efficient workforce."

Magpul, of Boulder, Colo., employs more than 200 people and generates about $85 million in annual taxable revenues. It announced in March that it will leave Colorado after state legislators approved several gun control bills, including a magazine limit of 15 bullets max.