February 2, 2018
Weatherby Moving to Wyoming’s Open Skies
Adam Weatherby stood on the busy 2018 SHOT Show floor and explained that after 73 years, the historic rifle and shotgun company is pulling up its California roots and moving to a friendlier locale.
It was an interesting announcement. Adam, grandson of founder Roy Weatherby, explained how his grandfather had headed west from Kansas to establish his rifle company in California because he was seeking better weather. Now, Weatherby’s future is in Sheridan, Wyoming, and for the Weatherby family, the skies couldn’t be brighter.
“We wanted a place where we could retain a great workforce, and where our employees could live an outdoor lifestyle,” Weatherby explained. “We wanted to move to a state where we can grow into our brand. Wyoming means new opportunities. We are not interested in maintaining; we are growing.”
Governor Extends His Welcome
Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead was on hand for the announcement and congratulated state officials and Weatherby employees for the decision to produce firearms in the Cowboy State.
“This is wonderful for Wyoming and for Weatherby,” Mead said. “Weatherby’s firearms will now be made in Sheridan and shipped all over the world.
“As I said in my state of the state address last year: In Wyoming we don’t just want to be known as a firearm state, we want to be known as the firearm state,” Mead said in a separate interview.
Wyoming Governor Matt Mead the Wyoming Business Council and special guests welcome the state’s newest manufacturer. Live at SHOT Show.
Posted by Wyoming Business Council on Tuesday, January 23, 2018
This isn’t the first time Mead has been able to lure a company to Wyoming’s wide open skies. Notably, Magpul and Hi Viz Shooting Systems relocated from Colorado after Gov. John Hickenlooper signed into law highly restrictive gun control measures. The passage of that law resulted in two state senators being recalled.
The Wyoming move, expected to be completed in 2019, means 70 to 90 jobs and $5 million in payroll over the next five years.
Better Regulatory Environment
The move isn’t entirely unexpected. Weatherby told those gathered for the announcement, “It was obvious being in the state that we were in that the legacy wasn’t going to be able to continue. We began to look for a new state.”
Wyoming’s business climate will make it much easier for Weatherby to conduct business. Aside from being a more tax-friendly state, regulations will it make it easier for Weatherby to grow. California required a state Department of Justice certificate of eligibility for new hires that can take as long as four months.
California has over recent years repeatedly clamped down on lawful gun ownership. The state attempted a magazine capacity ban, which has been blocked by the courts. The state passed ammunition sales restrictions, a bullet-button ban and outlawed the use of traditional ammunition across the state, to take full effect by 2019.
Weatherby is just the most recent example of a firearms business moving to far friendlier ground. Kimber recently announced its expansion in Alabama instead of in its Yonkers, New York, facility. Beretta USA opened a new plant in Gallatin, Tennessee, instead of expanding its Accokeek, Maryland, location. Sturm Ruger expanded in North Carolina, further leaving behind its original Connecticut manufacturing home and Remington moved some production to Huntsville, Alabama, instead of investing further in Ilion, New York.
The trend is clear. States that respect the lawful commerce in firearms, and the Constitutionally-protected right to keep and bear arms, are bringing in business.