February 1, 2022
SHOT TV Rewind: Ark. Gov. Hutchinson No Stranger to SHOT Show
SHOT Show® 2022 was a bit of a family get together for more than just firearm industry insiders. Arkansas Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson was glad to be back in the aisles of firearm and ammunition manufacturers, hunting vendors and retailers. It was his seventh trip to NSSF’s trade show, a show he’s attended every year he’s been in office.
“Every year you’ve had it, I’ve been here and I can’t tell you of a more important gathering. It’s been very successful for Arkansas,” Gov. Hutchinson said. “I enjoy coming here and I’m glad to be here again this year.”
The governor’s work attending SHOT Show and bringing gun business to his state has paid off. Arkansas is home to more than 7,700 firearm industry-related jobs that totaled an economic footprint of more than $1.6 billion in 2021. Those numbers are growing. Since Gov. Hutchinson became governor, Sig Sauer established ammunition production in Jacksonville, Ark., in 2017 and recently announced it would expand production. Fiocchi Ammunition announced in 2020 it was establishing production in Little Rock. Remington’s footprint in Arkansas was around 400 employees in early 2020 before being purchased by Vista Outdoor and has now expanded to over 1,000. Walther announced increased manufacturing and will begin making firearms in Fort Smith. Gov. Hutchinson is hunting for even more.
The governor participated in the NSSF Governors’ Forum and reiterated his chief selling points.
“First of all, we have a gun-friendly environment. We believe in the Second Amendment in Arkansas. The outdoor, hunting sports is part of our DNA,” Gov. Hutchinson explained. “They need to feel comfortable with that because they’re usually coming out of an environment in another state that is high regulatory – sometimes I get asked the question, ‘What kind of permit do I need to have?’ and I say, ‘You don’t need a permit.’ You come to Arkansas and you start your business.”
There’s a reason Arkansas is home to so many firearm and ammunition companies, he said.
“Our workforce,” Gov. Hutchinson explained. “We have a history of gunsmithing and pride in making ammunition and firearms in our state that gives them the skilled workforce that they need. We’re a business-friendly state but it really, really applies to firearms.”
Gov. Hutchinson said his administration has been working hard to make Arkansas an even more welcoming state for business. He cut the individual income tax rate and ushered through the largest tax cut package in Arkansas history.
Arkansas is known as the Natural State for it’s beautiful and bountiful outdoors, traditions and popular activities for residents and visitors to enjoy. Hunting is a significant factor in generating and contributing to the firearm and ammunition industry. Gov. Hutchinson added that the contributions that hunters make to conservation efforts is what sustains those traditions.
“First of all, every hunter that we have is a conservationist,” the governor said. “We invest in habitats. We invest in making sure it’s available for the next generation. It’s about our quality of life and it’s what we want our children and our grandchildren to enjoy.”
Watch the full interview from SHOT TV with Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson here.
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