June 23rd, 2013

Texas and S. Dakota Governors Go East to Recruit Gun Makers

NSSF Rick Perry ConnecticutGov. Rick Perry of Texas and Gov. Dennis Daugaard of South Dakota visited Connecticut last week. The two Governors hoped to recruit manufacturers to re-locate operations to their more business-friendly states. Connecticut firearms makers are high on the list of businesses both Perry and Daugaard seek to bring to their respective states. Gov. Perry wants Connecticut gunmakers to relocate to the Lone Star State, while Gov. Daugaard hopes South Dakota can attract these enterprises.

Larry Keane, Senior vice president and general counsel for the National Shooting Sports Foundation, provides a perspective on the recruiting effort. Keane suggests that economic growth in Connecticut is being stymied by official state policies. And Connecticut is no friend of the gun business, though firearms production has been one of Connecticut’s few growth industries in recent years:

The economic report card for the State of Connecticut is in and the results are not good.

The Bureau of Economic Analysis reports that Connecticut was last in the nation in economic growth in 2012, the only state where the combined value of goods and services produced (GDP) was lower than in 2011. In fact, total state GDP fell a quarter of a billion dollars last year, the same amount it fell in 2011.

On the heels of that report, the Manufacturing Alliance of Connecticut released the results of a survey that revealed Connecticut manufacturers predict a bleak outlook for the state’s economy and the health of their industries. The survey reported that a majority of the state’s manufacturers have been recruited to expand or relocate to another state and that they would consider doing so, most citing “government attitude” as the reason.

Connecticut’s firearms and components manufacturers have been the rare exception to the state’s dismal economic performance in recent years. Colt, Mossberg, Stag Arms, Ammunition Storage Components, to name four such companies, have added hundreds of jobs in recent years and, as a result, have contributed more in local and state taxes, even as other industries have cut back and moved facilities and jobs out of state.

We see a direct connection between the state’s nation-trailing GDP performance and the attitude of state government…. Gov. Perry understands all this. So he is coming to Connecticut. So too, is South Dakota Gov. Dennis Daugaard, who next week will also be recruiting these same manufacturers for his state. — Commentary by Larry Keane

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