January 30, 2023
SHOT Show Rewind: Gov. Tate Reeves Talks Firearm Traditions in the Magnolia State
In Mississippi, it only takes a couple miles to either be in a deer stand or a duck blind. It’s a state that’s hunting and firearm heritage rivals any other. That’s the message first-term Gov. Tate Reeves brought to SHOT Show® 2023 in his aim to attract more firearm companies to make the Magnolia State home.
His first impressions of SHOT Show said it all.
“It’s been incredible,” Gov. Reeves told NSSF’s Trevor Santos on SHOT TV. “I’ve been able to see a large number of Mississippi-based companies and companies that are based in other places that do manufacturing in Mississippi. And I’ve also seen so many Mississippians just walking the floor, saying hello, enjoying themselves. Because in our state, we honor the Second Amendment.”
Industry Moving In
Mississippi’s firearm industry footprint is massive. The state heralds more than 4,700 jobs that pay firearm and ammunition-related employees wages in excess of $243 million. It’s an industry that generates a total economic impact in Mississippi of more than $930 million, according to NSSF’s 2022 Industry Economic Impact Report.
Gov. Reeves is laser focused on continuing to recruit hunting and recreational shooting sports companies to his state just as his predecessors before. That includes Olin Corporation’s Winchester Ammunition moving to Oxford in 2011, from East Alton, Ill.
To history-rich companies located in gun-unfriendly states, Gov. Reeves had a welcoming message.
“There are many companies in this industry that have been located in the same place for many, many years. It’s hard to make that ultimate decision to leave, to relocate,” the governor said. “But it’s clear – some of these companies have no choice. Radical policies are making it virtually impossible for them to operate. In Mississippi though, it’s quality of life and quality of workforce. And if you’re going to be in the firearm industry and employ people in Mississippi, you’re going to have a workforce that believes in your product.”
Every Mississippian Can Participate
One particular point of pride for Gov. Reeves was his promotion of the Mississippi outdoors as a resource for all Mississippians to enjoy. That means continuing the robust Mississippi traditions of caring for and improving public lands and making sure they are accessible. In 2014, Mississippi voters approved a constitutional amendment guaranteeing the individual right to hunt and fish.
“For Mississippi, it’s a matter of quality of life. And that means for everybody,” Gov. Reeves said. “To ensure that, we passed legislation last year to create the Mississippi Stewardship Fund, transferring $20 million each year to make sure we properly take care of our state public lands so that everyone in the state can enjoy those opportunities.”
“We want every kid in Mississippi – regardless of what their mom or dad does – to have the opportunity to enjoy the great outdoors and that means protecting and improving public lands. Mississippi is one of those states that has historically done a good job on conservation,” the governor explained.
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