Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) met with Mark Malkowski, owner of Stag Arms of New Britain, Connecticut, who was in Houston for the NRA convention. The two met to discuss a possible move to Texas for the firearm manufacturer.
The Hartford Courant reports that Malkowski, 35, said he briefly toured a number of possible locations, though his decision to leave Connecticut is still under consideration. Malkowski employs 200 people, and his father also owns a machining firm in New Britain.
“There are some intense meetings going on between the owner of Stag Arms and Rick Perry, the Governor of Texas at the NRA show in Houston,” Stag posted on its Facebook page.
“It was refreshing,” Malkowski said. “The approach, the climate out there is very friendly–industry friendly and business friendly. It doesn’t even compare, their governor vs. ours when it comes to our industry.”
Executives from gun manufacturers PTR of Bristol, O.F. Mossberg and Sons of North Haven, and Colt of West Hartford also attended NRA’s annual meeting and convention. All of the companies make rifles that are now banned for sale in Connecticut. In the case of Stag, its entire product line is now illegal to buy in Connecticut.
Nevertheless, Stag Arms now has an eight-month backlog of orders.
Regarding the Texas welcome, Malkowski said, “They were very welcoming and very encouraging to us to consider their state and it wasn’t politicians and economic development officials… it was regular people.”
Perry has also reached out to Ammunition Storage Components, which manufactures bullet magazines in New Britain. Jonathan Scalise, owner of ASC, said that his company has 17 different offers to relocate.
Connecticut’s new gun control law permits manufacturing to continue, but the manufacturers are concerned that if they remain in the state, their products will be boycotted because of the state’s retail sales ban on military-style firearms.
In addition, Connecticut gun manufacturers are not happy about comments made by Gov. Dannel Malloy (D) during an April interview with Candy Crowley of CNN:
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’re deranged, even if they’re mentally ill, even if they have a criminal record. They don’t care. They want to sell guns.
The head of O.F. Mossberg took the Connecticut governor’s remarks as slanderous to the entire firearm manufacturing industry, as well as the people employed by the companies.
The Mossberg executive wrote, “…your comments came across as insulting and slanderous to our employees and to our industry, and appear to be politically motivated…”
“If I’ve insulted anybody it’s the NRA,” Malloy responded. “It’s for good reason.”
Based on several polls he claims show that a large majority of Americans support universal background checks for gun buyers, Malloy said, “You have an organization that is being funded by manufacturers that is basically telling the American people to go fish. These are folks who will not support universal background checks and anybody who supports that organization is in essence creating a monster.”