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Gunmakers Voting With Their Feet

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One of the most powerful statements you can make and one of the most important freedoms you have is to vote with your feet, to just get up and move somewhere that better respects your rights. Gunmakers under assault from those who would limit a citizen's Second Amendment rights are doing just that: They're picking up their manufacturing facilities out of states that have passed restrictive gun ownership laws and walking to freedom in states with a strong tradition of protecting gun rights.

A call to arms
Connecticut gunmaker PTR Industries announced that it will leave the state in response to the new law just signed that gives Connecticut some of the strictest gun laws in the country. While it will review over the next six weeks the entreaties it has received from other states and plans to have the move completed by year's end, it also encourages other gunmakers in the state to follow its lead and move elsewhere.

"We are making a call to all involved in our industry to leave this state, close your doors, and show our politicians the true consequences of their hasty and uninformed actions," the company stated.

And PTR is not alone. Two other Connecticut-based munitions makers, Stag Arms and Ammunition Storage Components, are weighing whether they have the shoe leather to make a move. Ironic, as it comes from a state whose motto is qui transtulit sustinet, or "he who is transplanted still sustains."

Don't mess with Texas
Nor is this confined to Connecticut. Italian gun manufacturer Beretta is actively considering leaving Maryland because of the restrictive new laws it passed, while Magpul Industries is leaving Colorado.

Texas, in particular, has gone out of his way to woo gun and ammunition makers, sending letters to dozens of them inviting them to relocate. Mississippi as well is trying to entice gun manufacturers from Colorado, Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, and North Carolina. 

Shooting out the lights
Sturm, Ruger
(NYSE: RGR  ) and Colt Defense are two major gunmakers headquartered in Connecticut that have yet to take a stance on voting with their feet, though they've undoubtedly benefited from the heightened concern over gun control. Ruger recently reported a 52% jump in fourth-quarter sales, while revenues at rival Smith & Wesson Holding (NASDAQ: SWHC  ) , which is located in nearby Massachusetts, saw revenues surge 39% in the most recent quarter. Although the FBI cautions that background checks don't equate into gun sales on a one-to-one basis, one report suggests that based on National Instant Criminal Background Check System data, there were almost 22 million background checks between Jan. 1, 2012, and Jan. 31, 2013, which translates into one every 1.6 seconds

There's a sense that the industry cannot accept the attacks being waged against it any longer. Greater numbers of manufacturers and distributors are taking the position that if their products are illegal for citizens of certain states to own, then they won't sell them to the government, either. Almost 150 gun and ammo dealers have agreed to stop selling their wares to police departments in states, counties, and municipalities that have enacted restrictive gun laws.  

Right on target
It's beginning to have an impact. With Homeland Security making huge bulk ammo purchases, fears of stricter controls causing hoarding, and many manufacturers not selling ammunition in anti-gun states, police departments around the country are finding it difficult to obtain ammo for their officers. Some departments have cut back on firearms training as a result, while others are resorting to bartering to get the ammo they need.

The firearms industry has long been targeted for retribution every time a tragedy has struck, and this time they've decided to fight back. When your rights are being trampled, sometimes walking away from a fight can send an even more powerful message.

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Read/Post Comments (38) | Recommend This Article (13)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On April 14, 2013, at 4:49 PM, SammyP1 wrote:

    Is this satire?

  • Report this Comment On April 15, 2013, at 8:08 AM, Oenothera1 wrote:

    And each of these gun companies has about 25 employees. What catastrophic job losses.

  • Report this Comment On April 15, 2013, at 8:22 AM, Hunter067 wrote:

    If they want to play this game, lets take a look at Product liability laws then.

    Something is used to kill 35-50,000 people each year. I say lets revisit this.

  • Report this Comment On April 15, 2013, at 8:23 AM, david30011 wrote:

    FYI for people who can not read

    1. Ruger had approx. 1,100 employees not 25

    2. Smith and Wesson had 1,453 as of 2008

    3. Kimber had 400+ as of 2011

    all economic activity from firearm manufacturing, distribution, and other ancillary activities totaled US$27.8 billion in 2010 in the United States.

  • Report this Comment On April 15, 2013, at 8:37 AM, tikiskis wrote:

    Since when did the NRA begin writing editorials for The Motley Fool?

    The premise, "Gunmakers under assault from those who would limit a citizen's Second Amendment rights" is rooted in the same reality that spawned unicorn posters in bedrooms across the U.S. Both are nothing but fiction.

    Glad I let my SA membership go.

  • Report this Comment On April 15, 2013, at 8:40 AM, duditz wrote:

    Firearms are pretty heavily taxed as well, thats alot money running away.A lot of jobs going elsewhere.Generally high skill jobs at that.This is being done in the name of policy that has failed to accomplish it goal in the first 145 yrs of implementation.

  • Report this Comment On April 15, 2013, at 8:51 AM, sporttster wrote:

    Glad these companies are leaving. Also glad that many of them are deciding to not sell to governmental agencies. If it's "not good" for the public, then most certainly it is not good for the government, either. Especially when it comes to our rights. They can come to Indiana where we still cherish our freedoms, unlike the fools on the east coast. We welcome them!! I hope more and more of these companies will stop selling to the police and other agencies. Serves em right!! Time to take a stand and fight back!!!!

  • Report this Comment On April 15, 2013, at 9:03 AM, globeflyer wrote:

    Regardless of your stance on guns, there are only two reasons for any government to want to know who owns them: To tax them or take them. Neither is optimal in my opinion. Another consideration: do you think a nation that cannot control it's own borders will be able to stop the influx of guns that will surely be shipped across the (porous) borders? We both know the answer.

  • Report this Comment On April 15, 2013, at 9:03 AM, acworthey wrote:

    When Leftist job killing and foolish laws impact our communities, it is ONLY right that real Capitalists display their dismay and make a new accepting community wealthy.


  • Report this Comment On April 15, 2013, at 9:17 AM, edfelix wrote:

    Of the top ten weapons used to commit murder in the US guns are number 10. The number one is "baseball bats" (US Bureau of Justice Statistics). Kitchen knives are in the middle. The report did not specify if they were "classic" bats or the more modern "tactical assault style bats" (cosmetics). My guess is that if I'm being assaulted with a bat, it will always be an "assault bat". Attacks on the gun industry and citizens exercising their constitutional rights is a prime example of the Management Knee Jerk Reaction (MKJR) three step process. First, "panic", second, "search for the gulty", lastly, "punish the innocent".

  • Report this Comment On April 15, 2013, at 9:27 AM, docholiday4570 wrote:

    Change the word gun control to Maggot control.It's not the gun that is killing's the maggots that are killing people.Exterminate the maggot that is commiting the killings instead of storing them at our expence.Let the people vote..each state..on capital electric chair no injections...But Free Swimming lessons..if they can hold their breath for a hour and a half they pass..if not ...and do it with in 60 days of more storing the maggots because right now they are not affarid of killing no one at any time..they know they get 3 hot's and a cot blue cross and blue sheild at OUR expence.

  • Report this Comment On April 15, 2013, at 9:29 AM, lugmauler wrote:

    HAHAHAHAHAHA awesome. hit the government where it counts and deal a tax blow to the states that are violating our rights and the constitution at the same time. I believe it does state somewhere that our rights are not to be abridged, and yet look at all the abridging they have done. guess our government didn't take into account the ramifications to their actions.

    now where is the government going to get the ammo for the troops? stepped all over your own weenie didn't you king Hussein with your disarm America agenda the U.N. wanted you to pull.

    yes folks, that is one of the agendas that the UN has for America,, disarm the people, and that's not the only agenda they have been doing against this country.

    I think it's high time we the people revolt and take back our country from those that would destroy it! you know the supreme court, our congress and the presidency.

  • Report this Comment On April 15, 2013, at 9:32 AM, sgtoli wrote:

    I never knew /inmagined that any politician freely elected by the PEOPLE,in our democratic society/nation/country had the authority/right to limit,removed,restrict any of my Constitutional rights, no matter what the reason. I guess what we used to call the United States of America, does not longer exist. Be aware America this is only the begining, if you think that our esteem government won't imposed more restrictions or removed more Constitutional rights, to achieve what ever purpose or reason the government wants or deems necessary, you better be prepared. Is comming, the precedent has been set.

  • Report this Comment On April 15, 2013, at 9:38 AM, heiwa wrote:

    Let them go. Let firearms manufacturers leave the planet. Who needs them? The impotent, the addicted, the post adolescent lost in fantasy. Sad and pathetic.

  • Report this Comment On April 15, 2013, at 10:03 AM, Doug6785 wrote:

    it is not the number of employees leaving the state... but the taxes the companies will take with them. Gun sales are at an all time high thanks to Obama and all those tax dollars will be leaving the State! Funny how that works... the liberal states keep raising taxes on people and force out the people who actually pay BIG TAXES!

  • Report this Comment On April 15, 2013, at 10:04 AM, Doug6785 wrote:

    When you are disarmed... you are at the mercy of your government!!!

  • Report this Comment On April 15, 2013, at 10:17 AM, 12151791 wrote:

    If the Gun manufacturers are looking for states where citizens 2nd Amendment rights haven't been trampled, that'll narrow the choices to just 4 states

    AK,AZ,VT, and WY,, the ONLY Constitutional Carry states in the Union ,, If these companies really wanted to make a statement by moving they would leave the US altogether, and find a place that was

    "Founding Fathers idea of Freedom" somewhere like Costa Rica, with less than 10% corp tax rate,

    very few regulations and even fewer Tort lawyers,

    not to mention a work force that doesn't believe it's Entitled (just for a quick comparison, the electric bill for a 2500 sq foot house in Jaco Costa Rica cost an average of $18.00 (USD) per month.)

  • Report this Comment On April 15, 2013, at 10:21 AM, GertShoots wrote:

    Y'all come on down the Texas. We are the land of the free and the home of the brave.

    All you liberals can stay in the north, the south is rising again!

  • Report this Comment On April 15, 2013, at 10:26 AM, ez8631 wrote:

    talk about shooting yourself in the foot, a state passes unconstitutional laws for harsher gun control and now law enforcement in that state can't buy the firearms or ammunition they need... I love it!!! stupid lefty wingnut liberals will never get it, gun ownership freed us from British rule in 1776, and then prevented us from being invaded during WW2. gun ownership is a constitutional right not to be infringed because gun ownership equals freedom!

  • Report this Comment On April 15, 2013, at 10:29 AM, RobertLB1 wrote:

    All these law do is punish legal gun owners, and these laws do nothing to address criminals. I agree that these companies need to punish these states that unjustly punish legal gun owners without addressing criminals. I can make a single shot pistol in under an hour with things found in my home. I can build a single shot rifle or shotgun in two hours with things found in my home. A semi-automatic or an automatic weapon is more challenging, but they are not too difficult to build with a little crafting. I even developed a paper cartridge for use in a new type of weapon.

    My point is that they punish legal weapon owners for what criminals do, but they never address criminals. Just so everyone knows, I can make these weapons, but I have no reason the build them at this time.

  • Report this Comment On April 15, 2013, at 10:50 AM, xdem wrote:

    Texas would gladly welcome all of them.

    No state income tax - inexpensive homes

    Friendly people

  • Report this Comment On April 15, 2013, at 10:53 AM, Kay10 wrote:

    Good on Texas !

  • Report this Comment On April 15, 2013, at 10:55 AM, xdem wrote:

    My company wanted to transferred me from Silicon Valley to DFW 8 yrs ago. I'll admit I gave serious thought to quitting. I'm sure glad I didn't. I have never had such friendly neighbors. Texans are not at all what I thought they would be. Most Texans have a don't mess with me I won't mess with you attitude. Homes are cheap, and no state income tax.

    Long story short this Californian loves the Lone Star State

    I nearly wet myself when the waitress asked smoking or non-smoking

  • Report this Comment On April 15, 2013, at 10:57 AM, xdem wrote:

    Don't Mess with Texas - it's perfect as is

  • Report this Comment On April 15, 2013, at 11:25 AM, kandoarms wrote:

    gun companies wanting to move because of stiffer gun rules bs stay where you are at. you know you will have to raise the prices of the guns and parts you make when you move. you have roots where you are. don't go that extra mile.

  • Report this Comment On April 15, 2013, at 11:28 AM, spiderdale wrote:

    I am ready to move out of California! I am a 57 year old U.S. veteran with an honorable discharge, have a California Certificate of Rehabilitation issued in the 90s for getting in trouble when I was 18 and was recently denied a gun purchase. I just do not understand it.

  • Report this Comment On April 15, 2013, at 11:34 AM, herman48 wrote:

    We can do our part in this fight: let's not buy any Colt or Ruger products as long as they remain in the liberty-killing states.

  • Report this Comment On April 15, 2013, at 11:57 AM, Kerschnuffle wrote:

    This should be interesting. I predict that with the criminals,still getting their guns the same way they always have,illegally,and knowing their victims are no longer armed,gun-related crime will increase dramatically.And their police will not be able to protect them with no ammo. By this time next year,there should be a lot of people fleeing their crime-ridden states that won't allow them to defend themselves,or these states will be begging for protection,and wanting their guns back.

  • Report this Comment On April 15, 2013, at 12:28 PM, Loriintoledo wrote:

    Since they're all about profits & anything that messes with that, even when it just makes sense ie background checks, is unacceptable--with any luck they'll take their "business" to some 3rd world countries, then I'll sit back & watch the fun as the "well made" guns explode in purchaser's hands on 1st use! Can't wait! Here's to "lead" poisoning...

  • Report this Comment On April 15, 2013, at 12:29 PM, Jahmiroquai wrote:

    I like how Gov. Hickenlooper (CO) ran on a campaign of job growth and then proceeded to knowingly sign legislation driving an entire industry out of state, with MagPul serving as the flagship of the exodus.

    The saving grace of American politics – Public officials are (theoretically) held accountable every 2, 4, or 6 years.

  • Report this Comment On April 15, 2013, at 12:44 PM, jumper001 wrote:

    What is actually sad is all the american gun bashers who say we are so pathetic for wanting guns and that all the manufactures should just be shut down and hope the government or the people kill one another who owns guns?You are the pathetic waste that is hurting this country and don't have enough backbone to stand up for anything because what you are receiving is probably all government funded and been paid for by the taxpayers anyways so its easy to sit back and not want your lives to change.Now that's obama care.

  • Report this Comment On April 15, 2013, at 12:56 PM, ghostwalker6153 wrote:

    They can move their business to South Dakota. We'll take them in.

  • Report this Comment On April 15, 2013, at 2:17 PM, MariliiMarilii wrote:

    I love it that these companies are moving out of non-gun-friendly states. Those states deserve to lose the revenue as well as the easy access their law enforcement agencies once had to the ammo made by these companies. What's good for the goose is good for the gander.

  • Report this Comment On April 15, 2013, at 2:51 PM, P51Mustang1256 wrote:

    Hunter067, I can only assume you're talking about auto manufacturers since the numbers you quote are about 4X the number of firearms deaths. Of the approximately 10,000 gun deaths each year, a vast majority are suicides.

    “Assault weapons” were used in 1.4% of crimes involving firearms and 0.25% of all violent crime before the enactment of any national or state “assault weapons” ban.

  • Report this Comment On April 15, 2013, at 4:42 PM, Plaintired wrote:

    And Obama will take credit for creating a bunch of new jobs when they move to a more sensible state! The jobs lost because of the moves will be swept under carpet, since it's the Liberals way of dealing with things they don't like!

  • Report this Comment On April 16, 2013, at 8:29 AM, Timkatt wrote:

    Any company will use any excuse to get a better deal for themselves. The fact that new gun laws have been passed just make it a convenient excuse. Look at what Electrolux is doing in TN. They're moving some manufacturing jobs there, getting HUGE tax subsidies, the local government is paying for the plant, paying to educate the any new workers and Electrolux has said they aren't guaranteeing there will be any new jobs nor that they will stay.

  • Report this Comment On April 16, 2013, at 8:58 AM, gskinner75006 wrote:

    Good to hear more businesses may be coming to Texas! One of the Colt companies is moving into Breckenridge, Texas (just up the street). BTW, lower taxes and expenses has always been a reason for companies to locate where they do and move when the need arises. It is good to hear unformed, knee jerk reactions by PC whiners has been added to the list of reasons for relocation's.

  • Report this Comment On April 16, 2013, at 4:04 PM, jetpilot18 wrote:

    Feel free to come to Texas. We would love your business.

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