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April 11, 2013

Connecticut Gunmaker Announces Decision to Move


PTR IndustriesIt took less than a week.

On April 4, Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy signed into law a package of gun-control legislation drawn up in secret by a small group of state legislators and never put before a public hearing. Most legislators had little time to even read the 139 page bill. In the enacted law, made effective immediately, is a ban on modern sporting rifles and sales of magazines with capacities of more than 10 rounds, as well as “universal background checks” on private transactions.

On April 9, PTR Industries of Bristol, a manufacturer of modern sporting rifles, announced it will leave Connecticut citing “disregard for public input, and the haphazard production of the legislation (that) should be insulting to any citizen or business” in the state. Although it did not do so, PTR also could have cited the April 7 nationally televised remarks of the governor wherein he characterized industry opposition to the sweeping new laws is this way: “What this is about is the ability of the gun industry to sell as many guns to as many people as possible – even if they are deranged, even if they are mentally ill, even if they have a criminal background.”

O.F. Mossberg & Sons, Inc., of North Haven, the oldest family owned firearms manufacturer in America, that was founded in Connecticut nearly a century ago sent Gov. Malloy a letter telling him that “[a]t a time when we are being encouraged to move our manufacturing facility to any of several states, your words make us feel most unwelcomed.” I wonder if Gov. Malloy knows that Mossberg has a factory in Texas.

Law-abiding Connecticut citizens now have greater restrictions on their Second Amendment and state constitutional rights with no advancement of public safety. Other Connecticut firearms manufacturers are now seriously weighing the impact on their businesses and their employees of the state’s double-standard of you can build it here, but not sell it here, public policy formulation. Legal challenges seem inevitable.

“With a heavy heart but a clear mind, we have been forced to decide that our business can no longer survive in Connecticut – the former Constitution State,” PTR said.

Larry Keane is senior vice president and general counsel for the National Shooting Sports Foundation. Follow him on Twitter at @lkeane.