Ideology is a strong motivator, but so is the bottom line—profits. Businesses have to protect profits; it is the very lifeblood that determines a company’s existence. As a result, executives often have to make decisions based on metrics over empathy to employees or political causes.
Politicians are cut from a completely different cloth. Ideology often seems to trump common sense or financial security. Just look at the ideology driving the political forces in cities and states that are bankrupt or teetering on the edge of the fiscal cliff. Yet, this danger has not made a dent in many local and state governments when it comes to their anti-gun agendas.
How important are guns to a local, state or even the economy of the federal government? A trip to a history class would do many politicians a world of good. In fact, it may do us all a bit of good, so let’s look back at just how important the firearm industry is to our economy.
Significant regulations from the early 1900s included the Trading with the Enemy Act of 1917 and the Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act of 1930. Neither of these acts was designed (as many laws are today) to directly harm the firearms industry. However, the effects were devastating and linked by economists as a contributing factor the Great Depression.
Today, the same shortsighted thinking is hurting local and state economies with anti-gun laws and rhetoric. The good news is that this will not cause another Great Depression for the nation because there are alternatives in gun-friendly states with business-minded political leaders. As a result, manufacturers of firearms and accessories, both large and small, are looking to make the jump.
Who is Ready to Bug Out?
Magpul, already a darling of AR enthusiasts, was at the forefront when traditionally gun-friendly Colorado made a sudden left turn and signaled a ban on magazines with a capacity of more than 15 rounds. When the political rhetoric ramped up last February, Magpul was loud in its dissention, but the cries of reason fell of deaf ears and sent Magpul packing.
It seems the better the name the more dubious the motives. Mayors Against Illegal Guns, led by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomeberg and the so-called S.A.F.E. Act were enough to send Kahr Arms across the border. Kahr was scouting locations for a new facility in Orange County, N.Y. at the time. However, vice president of sales and marketing Frank Harris said of New York, “We don’t feel welcome” when asked by the Wall Street Journal. Pennsylvania seems to have a better understanding of the Second Amendment and the tax revenues manufacturers yield and welcomed Kahr with open arms.
Other major names in the industry will leave more of a hole in local economies by jumping to friendlier climes. Although Remington has been producing quality firearms in its Ilion N.Y. plant for over 150 years, it has reportedly started looking for alternative locations. Sturm Ruger and Beretta have expressed expansion plans to gun-friendly states with Ruger targeting South Carolina.
Connecticut’s new laws have prompted PTR Industries to turn to South Carolina; Palmetto State and Stag Arms seem to also be close on its heels. Perhaps not to South Carolina, but both companies are eyeing states with more realistic laws and better business sense. After all, Stag Arms CEO Mark Malkowski recently admitted in an interview that the company had received “about 100 offers” to relocate. Texas Gov. Rick Perry and South Dakota Gov. Dennis Daugaard are leading the charge to attract these manufacturers and citizens of their state will reap the tax benefits and jobs.
The loser? Sure, the states lose, but the real victims are the workers and their families. Companies feel the pressure to show their support of the Second Amendment when customers start howling at the doors—not to mention the business’ requirements for economic survival. However, the employees have spouses with jobs that will not relocate with them. Kids will be pulled from schools and established social environments. Moves resulting from bad political legislation come with human costs.
Businesses cannot afford to simply cease to exist based on political idealism. Politicians, however, are cut from another cloth as previously mentioned. We need to start holding them accountable. Colorado has a good start on its recall efforts and the midterm elections are just around the corner.
Historically, midterms have extremely low turnouts which make every one of our votes that much more important. Now is the time to do your homework, feel out the candidates and make sure you are supporting a strong advocate for the Second Amendment.