Gunmakers In Connecticut Will Host Two Governors Next Week, Not Just One

by Categorized: Economic Development, Manufacturing, Politics Date:

Connecticut gun manufacturers will welcome not one red-state governor on Monday, but two — as Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s tour is followed by a visit from South Dakota Gov. Dennis Daugaard that afternoon and Tuesday.

Both of the Republican governors will tour the Colt companies in West Hartford and O.F. Mossberg & Sons in North Haven, and perhaps other firearms makers. While Perry announced his foray to Connecticut and New York with fanfare and an ad campaign, Daugaard planned his trip quietly.

Perry, keeping with his higher-key tone, will host a lunchtime reception for Connecticut firearms firms at Max Downtown restaurant in Hartford, in addition to touring several plants in a whirlwind day.

Both governors hail from states that offer low taxes and a business climate that’s more than friendly to the makers of military-style guns of the sort that Connecticut banned for sale on April 4.

For Mossberg, the visits coincide with an active search for a place to expand. The 94-year-old Connecticut gunmaker has 270 employees at its home plant and 400 in Texas, and is looking for more capacity as sales climb.

“It’s nice to see someone come and say ‘We like your jobs, we welcome your business,” said Joe Bartozzi, senior vice president and general counsel at Mossberg. “It’s nice to be liked, it’s nice to be wanted.”

Bartozzi said Mossberg has not met with other governors this year, but he noted, “We’ve met with senators, we’ve met with congressmen. I have a stack of letters that would choke a horse from economic development agencies around the country, and obviously like any business we’re looking at options.”

As for Connecticut, Bartozzi said, the law is bad enough but the attitude of elected officials such as Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy is worse.

“It would be incredibly unlikely for us to expand in Connecticut,” he said.

Each of the four Connecticut companies that make military-style, semiautomatic rifles in the state has a different stance when it comes to expanding or moving.

PTR Industries in Bristol, which has about 45 employees and makes a version of the German HK rifle, has said it is exiting the state entirely. PTR hosted a South Carolina official last month after visiting his Myrtle Beach district. My colleague Tony Terzi of Fox CT reported that PTR employees favored South Carolina over other states, in an informal vote.

Stag Arms of New Britain, an AR-15 rifle-maker with 200 employees, is considering a move or an expansion, perhaps along with Ammunition Storage Components, a New Britain maker of bullet magazines, many now banned in its home state.  Stag owner Mark Malkowski, whose photo with Perry at the NRA convention in Houston raised eyebrows last month, is again meeting with his new friend Monday.

The Colt companies — Colt’s Manufacturing Co. and Colt Defense, with 700 local employees under one roof between them — are not saying what they might do.

“Texas has always been a loyal supporter and friend of Colt and we will be pleased to welcome Gov. Perry to our facility on Monday morning,” Dennis Veilleux, CEO of Colt’s Manufacturing, said in a written statement. “While we have been proud to call Connecticut home for 175 years, as we look to future growth we have a responsibility to consider all options that ensure we remain competitive and meet the needs and expectations of our customers.”

The companies have a backlog of orders, and Colt Defense has added employees this year in West Hartford, said Jim Tipton, human resources vice president at Colt’s Manufacturing.

Each governor will come away with a custom-engraved version of the famous Colt 1911, “with a special serial number and his name engraved on the slide,” Tipton said. For Texas, the outline of the state is on the firearm, but since South Dakota is a straight rectangle, Daugaard’s version will have something else.

That’s a high honor. Every modern U.S. president except one has been offered a customized Colt gun, though at least one — Bill Clinton — declined. Colt’s has not made an offer to President Barack Obama.

Obama, like Malloy, has led the charge to expand the definition of “assault weapon” to include the semi-automatic rifles that the industry calls “modern sporting rifles.”  Malloy chafes at the notion that he’s trying to drive gun manufacturers out of the state, however.

“Let’s be clear about something: The goal of the comprehensive gun violence prevention law that was passed was to improve public safety. And the law the governor signed will improve public safety,” Malloy spokesman Andrew Doba said Friday.

Malloy’s position has been that no manufacturing activity was outlawed, and that firearms firms that act responsibly are welcome in Connecticut. Doba cited a report released Thursday in UConn’s Connecticut Economy quarterly, showing that there’s no link between states’ gun control laws and firearms manufacturing jobs.

“Any attempt to try to link the two is disingenuous at best,” Doba said.

The gunmakers in Connecticut say the law is very much linked to operations here, as customers may punish them for staying put.  Bartozzi, at Mossberg, said moving local operations elsewhere is a possibility.

“We’ve got great employees in Connecticut, we’ve got skilled people in Connecticut. We don’t want to do that, but to do what’s right for the business we have to consider the options,” he said.

The Mossberg family would like to stay where it’s been since 1919, Bartozzi said, but Malloy is making that difficult. “Every time he opens his mouth or Murphy says something, our customers take it out on us,” he said.

For now, business remains strong enough that the effects of the bans in Connecticut, New York and elsewhere, and the backlash, are mitigated.

And for now, the dance with governors of more gun friendly states becomes more intense, the inevitable result of a Connecticut ban that was legislated based on emotion. It was clear from the start that the ban would cost jobs at a critical time for  the state’s economy, whether or not it saves lives.

Perry’s website said he’s going after firearms, finance and  pharmaceutical companies on the trip to New York and Connecticut, but his staff has not confirmed details of the visit, aside from a speech that he will give at the Ferguson Library in Stamford on Monday at 6 p.m. Daugaard’s spokesperson did not return a call Friday.

And both visiting governors will have a chance to use the firearms at the indoor test ranges of Colt’s and Mossberg, if they want to do so. I asked Bartozzi which firearm will that would be at Mossberg — perhaps the smaller, .22-caliber version of the AR-15, a big seller that’s still legal in Connecticut?

No, Bartozzi said. “The modern sporting rifle. The one that’s too dangerous for the folks in Connecticut to shoot.”

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55 thoughts on “Gunmakers In Connecticut Will Host Two Governors Next Week, Not Just One

  1. Tim Shore

    Malloy won the 2010 Governor’s race by only 7,000 votes. Thanks to his new law 188,000 law abiding citizens will not be voting for him in 2014. Thanks for trying to restrict our right to bear arms and costing the state about 1,000 jobs in the firearms industry. Most of those jobs are held by minorities.

  2. Rob

    If losing more valuable manufacturing jobs to other states is what needs to happen for these bonehead libs to wake up and realize that they are absolutely destroying CT’s economy, then I say best of luck. Without enticing companies to build and expand their businesses with the use of tax incentives and reasonable (by that I mean logical..)regulations, companies will continue to pack up and set up shop elsewhere. Instead, we drive the insurance and manufacturing companies out of the state while we push for drivers licenses for illegals. You get what you vote for CT!

  3. Jim

    Sorry to see any of these manufactuurers go but they have to do what is best for their business. The ungrateful state government is willing to take their tax dollars while stabbing them in the back. Thanks for all you have done for the state and your loyalty to Connecticut through all of these years. It’s a shame that the current administration has lost sight of the fact that you have stood by the state through rough times and prosperous times. How quickly they forget to protect their own when it come to jumping in front of cameras for photo ops. Shame on you Gov Malloy and Senators Blumenthal & Murphy. You have abandoned thousands of your voting constituency for a ride along on the coat tails of Obama and your 15 minutes of national fame.

  4. Patrick

    My message to these governors: go home and stay home. Policy decisions are difficult and CT made honest decisions to protect its citizens from what it believes are unnecessary dangers of military grade firearms. If you don’t like it, good- dissent is patriotic and is necessary for our democracy.

    What you shouldn’t do is route for these other states because you don’t like CT politics. No CT law prohibits any of these manufacturers from producing their line-up of guns. No, the manufacturers and “supposedly” their customers are trying to take it out on CT residents for making their own laws. A big F-you to anyone who feels that way. These are our decisions. You don’t see the people in CT boycotting Texas products because its residents are ignorant slobs.

    I’m glad you love your ideology more than you love your state and country. How patriotic you sound routing for another state to steal your fellow citizens jobs- all because you hate the politics of its governor.

    1. ccbeachcomber

      No one is rooting (route?) for other states. If CT politicians were making honest decisions, that would be one thing. They are not. They are people who have never done an honest day’s work passing legislation, in secret, that only serves to get them re-elected. Witness the great, mysterious implementer. If the work of our policy makers is so honest, why the deceptions?

    2. Mitch

      Military grade firearms?!?!? Patrick, the military is not using these guns, you must be listening to what Chris Murphy has been saying every chance he can around the TV cameras and radio mics. Much like Blumenthal, he’s never seen one he didn’t like.

      Actually, Connecticut is not a business friendly state to any business, never mind the arms makers. You need to understand that there are a lot of companies moving out of state or just not expanding, or laying off as in the case of ESPN.

      Get your facts together and consider that the state doesn’t seem to be doing much about the criminals who have guns and are loose on the streets.

      AR-15s are not the problem, ignorance certainly is if you look at the lack of mental health treatment facilities in the state.

      1. Not_Pat

        Geez Pat – now you give me a tough choice; should I be unpatriotic by choosing my state governor over the Constitution, or unpatriotic by choosing the Constitution over a one term (so far) state governor… No way to win… You must be an IRS employee to give me those choices??

    3. Joe

      I feel it’s very ignorant and slob-like to spell “root” like “route.” Leave it a Lefty to insult what you do not understand. Best of luck to Gov. Perry and hopefully all four companies will take him up on his generosity and relocate, like many of us from this state have and will be…

    4. Kate

      Nice to know you think of all the residents of Texas as “ignorant slobs”. At least they know the proper use of words. It’s “root” or “rooting”. And speak for yourself, it’s not our decisions. The laws were passed without a vote from the public. So these are not “our decisions”

    5. Not_Pat

      Geez Pat – now you give me a tough choice; should I be unpatriotic by choosing my state governor over the Constitution, or unpatriotic by choosing the Constitution over a one term (so far) state governor… No way to win… You must be an IRS employee to give me those choices??

  5. Gun Owner

    What is truly tragic is that Malloy, Blumenthal, and Murphy are so wrapped up in their own self-declared, arrogant, ignorant, power-drunk, authority they forget that guns don’t harm, the finger of the PERSON who pulls the trigger does. Can anyone testify the last time a gun, all by itself, harmed someone?

    1. Gman

      Yeah, and all gun owners are responsible patriots until their screws go loose and decide to pull the trigger….then those same people are called mental. Kill yourself with your gun.

      1. Oktavian Florysiak

        More police officers screws go “loose” all the time who kill yet its okay. More people die from “loose” screws of doctors who screw up yet its okay. But when .000000001% of gun owners screw up mainly because of the system failing as it did in Sandy we gotta blame all of them. How convenient! Kill yourself with your FDA approved drugs or your car k thx!

  6. Lucy1900

    If Bartozzi heard Chris Murphy on Piers Morgan last night his bag is already packed.

  7. StevenRosenbaum

    One sentence says it all – The Mossberg family would like to stay where it’s been since 1919, Bartozzi said, but Malloy is making that difficult. “Every time he opens his mouth or Murphy says something, our customers take it out on us,” he said. – It’s hard enough to run a business in the current environment created by our political class. It’s another thing altogether when they actively work to ruin you.

      1. fastbunny

        G-man..Your comments strike me as those made by a 3 yr. old, or a troll, or even some mook in state gov’t; same as a troll. I do admire the restraint shown by those you were obviously trying to annoy. Too bad for your ego, didn’t work.

  8. Joseph Smith

    I hope they put a hefty tax on bullets, a annual fee of say $100 for every AR15, AK 47, or any other similar gun, and a aprox. $50 per year fee for every handgun you own, so they can use this money to pay for the paramedics, police, and other people who are needed to respond to the carnage caused by guns. Just like car owners have to pay for uninsured motorist, gun owners should be made to pay for the damage caused by guns.

    1. Oktavian Florysiak

      Clearly your not aware that driving is a privilege and owning a gun is a right there is a difference. BTW who pays for damages when the police shoot up the wrong person/house/animal, etc!? Oh right you the tax payer good job sticking REAL problems instead of sheep problems…

      1. Jack Frost

        My, An excellent point and well made comment is to Joseph Smith & Gman.
        To: Oktavian Florysiak, your a nut-job.

        1. Joe

          Oktavian is actually correct, no name-calling required, Jack. The rest of you are not so fortunate and I’m saddened by your lack of knowledge of your own country’s Bill of Rights.

          1. Mike in Illinois

            Not only is Oktavian right, but the word is spelled “you’re” not “your”.
            Why is it that the left is so ignorant in so many ways?

    2. Kate

      Since when do those who break the laws follow the laws? Fining and taxes and all that will do nothing to solve the problem, because they can go to other states and get the same stuff. Give it up. What about all the drunks that kill? Who pays for the paramedics, police and people who respond to that carnage? Get a reality check

    1. Oktavian Florysiak

      IOU, glad to hear it. So when they leave and murders continue to happen we’ll make you responsible and sue you and/or put you in jail! Glad to hear you want to take responsible for WHEN your wrong!

  9. phil

    ct–the new welfare state. the demographics says it all–your are a brown log circulating the porcelain facility and it’s only a matter of time before you’ll all be down the drain.

  10. Steve

    No one really believes anyone in their right mind would leave CT to move to SD. I have visited the state, nice place to visit (yeah Corn Palace), but there is a reason it has a low population.

  11. Jack Frost

    In case anybody hasn’t been paying attention, the largest manufacturer of guns in the world is China. American gun manufacturing is a declining industry, soon to be made irrelevant on the world market. Let’s direct our economic development energies towards growing industries like Jackson labs in Farmington.

    1. Steve (CT)

      You are admitting ignorance about the firearms market in general. The US firearm industry is primarily driven by domestic consumption, not export. There are a small number of large firearm manufacturers (FN, H&K, Sig Sauer, etc) that are the primary suppliers of military firearms for other countries.

      There are hundreds of domestic firearm manufacturers supported by US sales due to the diversity of firearm types in demand. China is very limited in what it can export to the US in firearms & quality is a far greater concern with firearm that most other Chinese imported products.

  12. Seb

    Mr Haar – have you, or any other reporter asked Gov Malloy if these assault rifles were dangerous before the newtown shooting? Because he had no problem offering the owner of Remington (and other brands) hefty financial perks to come here. And no, we’re not buying the notion that he had no idea that his economic development folks pursued it all on their own. If these firearms werent dangerous and terrible before newtown (but after aurora, mind you) why has he made it his mission to drive these manufacturers out of state? Before innocent people in Ct were murdered by a madman with an ar 15, and AFTER innocent people in Co were, he was ready to put state dollars and resources to bring firearms makers here. What a pathetic state of affairs that these are our leaders. Dan Haar – I would encourage you to ask the tough questions, and get an answer from the man himself, and not accept the mealy mouthed excuses of his paid mouthpiece

  13. havers stawfield

    I am sick of hearing about Newtown. it was someone else’s tragedy. Time to move on, i want to enjoy my summer and not have to hear about dead kids or guns anymore.

  14. MrLogical

    “Let’s be clear about something: The goal of the comprehensive gun violence prevention law that was passed was to improve public safety. And the law the governor signed will improve public safety,” Malloy spokesman Andrew Doba said Friday.”

    Is Doba as stupid as he sounds when he regurgitates the partisan political pap and propaganda that comes from Malloy’s office?

  15. Michael

    Tom Foley is probably hoping for this situation to blow up in Mr. Malloy’s face, so he can use it as campaign fodder, next year. As tragic as Sandy Hook was, the Democrats over estimated the effects of it on the day-to-day life of ordinary citizens.

  16. BigPoppa

    Dan Malloy and others are milking the horrible killings for all they can. It is sickening.
    Where did all the money go? And since when did tragedy in this country become a massive fundraiser?
    Adam Lanza was as crazy as our elected officials and just as dangerous.

    1. fred

      If you read the link you provided it says:

      “It’s not clear why gangs thrive in Connecticut, but research has shown crime is more prevalent in areas with high income gaps. And Connecticut has the starkest contrast between the rich and the poor, according to Census data analysed by Bloomberg.”

  17. Mike in Illinois

    States like Connecticut and the Peoples Republic of New York have been top heavy with an entrenched political structure more concerned with its own survival that the welfare of the citizens.
    Businesses have both a right and a duty to take steps to insure their own survival and prosperity. They will purchase raw materials and services from whoever has the best price, consistent with a level of quality they need. The real estate their factory sits on is one of those services. It does not matter if you produce guns, insurance or nutmeg grinders. Location, location, location.

    1. fred

      Connecticut does not force companies to locate in Connecticut. Their choice. Some companies leave, some companies move here. If you want to tell me that the net flow has been out of Connecticut, I need to see DATA because the population in Connecticut is stable and NOT decreasing.

  18. observer

    Sadly, Sandy Hook was caused by an untreated mental illness victim. Even more sad, the CT government response was based upon runaway emotions, not rational thinking.

  19. altkoa

    Good luck to Gov.Perry, wish he represented us. No democrat should talk about patriotism, is it patriotic, to overtax the American workers, in order to secure votes from the welfare class, or to legalize, illegals in hopes of getting their votes. Or to call anyone that disagrees with you a racist. The democratic party and their union thugs have ruined this state.

  20. southdakotan

    I hail from SD and worked in our Capitol…does Colt know how ANTI-GUN Daugaard is? Maybe they should check out the good gun bills he has vetoed and the bills he has shot down in favor of more and more gun CONTROL? He is no conservative and we have to fight the governor to keep and legislate good gun laws. Probably the most undeserving governor of a colt revolver there is…..Colt should vet governors better.

    1. fred

      Not only that, but a state that is “pro gun” could pass new laws in the future. Even Texas is changing as more Mexicans and others migrate there. Laws can change with the stroke of a pen. Ironic if you move to a state to escape a gun law and the law follows you to the new state.

      Texas has no income tax. Wonderful. Will it always be that way? What if the Texas “miracle” encounters financial problems in the future?

  21. Vote them all out

    It is high time to rid this state legislature of these liberal lunatics who are destroying this state. If you vote democrap next election you are truly a fool.

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