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October 5, 2011

Firearms Industry Rebuffed in Connecticut


Last week America’s firearms industry was ignored during a tour highlighting industry’s impact on both the history and economy of Connecticut.  The tour of Connecticut’s Coltsville Historic District, which included Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar, Governor Dannel Malloy (D-CT), Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Congressman John B. Larson (D-CT) and Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra (D), took place without as much as a heads-up to the state’s firearms manufacturers or the NSSF – the industry’s trade association.

The basis for the tour was an NSSF supported bill, H.R. 5131, the Coltsville National Historical Park Act. This legislation seeks to honor the historical significance of Colt Firearms and Manufacturing Company in Hartford, Connecticut by giving the Secretary of the Interior authority to establish the Coltsville Historic District as a National Historical Park. By establishing it as a National Historical Park and allowing original Colt guns throughout history to be on display, a tribute would be paid to the history created by Colt as a manufacturing company and to our firearm industry as a whole.

Given the firearm industry’s support for this legislation and the fact that it is based on honoring the good works and accomplishments of an industry titan, Samuel Colt, you can imagine our surprise when no one from industry garnered an invitation to the event – not even management from Colt firearms. That’s right, members of America’s firearms industry, the industrial descendants of Mr. Colt, are ignored at an event honoring the man’s contributions. This is most unfortunate, especially considering the strong economic impact America’s firearms industry continues to have on both the state and federal level.

The firearms industry has had an important impact in Connecticut’s state history and economy. Connecticut is the birthplace of America’s firearm industry – an industry that supports 5,400 jobs in the state, paying more than $380 million in wages, with an overall economic impact to the state’s economy of almost $1.3 billion. Our industry also contributes nearly $200 million in state and federal taxes, and Connecticut manufacturers contribute nearly $6.1 million annually to support wildlife conservation.

Companies in the United States that manufacture, distribute and sell firearms, ammunition and hunting equipment employ as many as 88,200 people and generate an additional 95,250 jobs in supplier and ancillary industries. These include jobs in companies supplying goods and services to manufacturers, distributors and retailers, as well as those that depend on sales to workers in the firearms and ammunition industry. These are good jobs, paying an average of $44,765 in wages and benefits.

In 2009 the firearms and ammunition industry was responsible for as much as $27.8 billion in total economic activity in the country. Clearly, the economic growth of America’s firearms and ammunition industry continues to be a bright spot in our country’s still ailing economy.

Given the historic and economic impact of America’s firearms industry, it is severely disappointing that we were overlooked during this most recent visit to Connecticut. And when one considers the industry companies that have already felt compelled to leave the state (Remington – Bridgeport, Sturm Ruger – Southport, Winchester – New Haven and Marlin – North Haven), it becomes all too clear that paying homage to our industry’s past is not enough; it’s even more important to create a job-friendly environment in Connecticut today.