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January 26, 2023

SHOT Show Rewind: Gov. Kemp’s Deputy Chief of Staff Bert Brantley Chats Firearm Industry

By Matt Manda

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp’s Deputy Chief of Staff Bert Brantley was once again at SHOT Show® 2023 to court and speak with firearm industry manufacturers and retailers about his boss’s steadfast support of the firearm manufacturing industry.

Brantley has attended SHOT Show before and the successes Georgia has seen attracting firearm business to the Peach State are a testament to his efforts. Bert Brantley told NSSF’s Trevor Santos, Director of Government Relations – State Affairs, that Gov. Kemp will “stand by” the industry by enacting “gun-friendly legislative priorities” and maintaining business-friendly policies that allow for companies to flourish in Georgia.

“We [were] really proud to get Constitutional Carry across the finish line this year,” Brantley said. It was a major “promise that the governor made during his first campaign.”

Ripe Opportunities

Brantley spoke with Santos in familiar themes, saying “Georgia saw an opportunity and an industry that needed support… It’s an industry we believe strongly in, that our citizens are customers of.”

He added Gov. Kemp’s administration has been excited to see those “businesses that have grown, some from infancy, and others that have relocated to the state.”

Georgia’s success in recruiting firearm industry businesses into the state is a proud point. In the past few years, Norma Precision Ammunition announced it was establishing a U.S. headquarters, manufacturing, warehousing and distribution presence in Garden City, Ga.; Remington Firearms announced the company will establish a new headquarters and expand production in LaGrange; Taurus USA moved to Bainbridge, Ga., in 2019 from Florida; and Check-Mate Industries moved from Babylon, N.Y., to Thomasville in 2018.

These efforts have been successful in large part due to Gov. Kemp’s efforts to create a “gun belt” in Georgia. Specifically, Brantley explained the Kemp administration’s extensive investments in research and development, manufacturing, logistics and warehousing facilities across Georgia.

Open For Business

Brantley recalled how when the COVID-19 pandemic hit and while other governors shuttered firearm business, Gov. Kemp kept them open for business while protecting outdoor space and hunting preserve access for the public. The pandemic saw a renaissance of hunting as Georgians sought the outdoors for social distancing activities. Brantley noted that Gov. Kemp made those decisions, “based on his experience as a business owner and an enthusiast of the outdoors, not for any political reasons.”

“It’s so exciting to come here and see our Georgia companies growing their booths, growing their products, growing their customers… We are now Made in America, Made in Georgia… exporting product around the world,” Brantley said.

Brantley called SHOT Show an “incredible opportunity for companies to do that and reach their industry.”

Brantley heralded the relationship between Georgia and the firearm industry as “authentic to our state, to our legislature, and to our governor.”

To watch the full SHOT TV interview with Bert Brantley, Gov. Brian Kemp’s (R-Ga.) Deputy Chief of Staff, click here.

See More SHOT TV Studio Exclusive Interviews

Watch the SHOT TV Studio playlist to learn about some of the latest products, and information on important industry programs, research, events and more.

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