SIG’s been located in Exeter, New Hampshire for decades. They have over 500 people in their current facility and, like just about every gun maker, business is booming. As a result, they’re busting at the seams and looking to expand. So they’ve just inked a deal to move to a facility in nearby Newington which will triple their space. SIG projects the move will allow them to expand production capacity and they figure they’ll increase their workforce by almost 20% in the next few years. Only one problem: SIG makes guns. Which makes the move and any new jobs that may result illegitimate . . .
At least it does in the eyes of a few local protesters. From seacoastonline.com:
Anti-war protesters expressed opposition to small-arms manufacturer SIG Sauer coming to the Pease International Tradeport, and Planning Board members raised questions about their role in approving the sublease at their Monday night meeting.
Residents from Portsmouth, Rye, Durham and Eliot, Maine, attended the meeting to protest SIG Sauer’s impending move from Exeter to the former Celestica building at 72 Pease Blvd. They held up signs bearing messages such as “No Gun Can Make Peace” and “Military Mom Sez No More,” and spoke against the business, which supplies weapons to military organizations around the world.
You’d think, given general economic conditions, that a thriving business with good prospects and plans for new jobs would be a good thing. But you’d be wrong.
“Weapons mean bullets, and bullets mean dead,” said Durham resident Robin Miller, who questioned whether SIG Sauer was the right kind of industry for the area.
Obviously, there are good jobs and then there are bad jobs. Working at SIG is evidently beyond the pale. Robin doesn’t want merchants of death in her area.
Ben Chichester of Rye asked whether a SIG Sauer rifle was used in the recent killing of 16 Afghan villagers, allegedly committed by a U.S. Army sergeant.
Good question, Ben. Because if the Army sergeant who went wack-o used a SIG rifle (he didn’t) to kill innocent Afghans, then obviously the company shouldn’t be allowed to re-locate its operations. It’s hard to argue with undeniable logic like that.
Cooler, more level heads prevailed, however, and SIG got the approval it needs to complete lease negotiations for its new facilities. Department of Resources and Economic Development Commissioner George Bald managed to keep things in perspective:
Bald said keeping SIG Sauer in New Hampshire is important, because he knows of several other states that have courted the company over the years.
“There are 49 other states who would love to get what we have here in New Hampshire with SIG,” he said. “I think this is good for the company, but it’s also really good for Pease to have that signature name right when you come in to Pease.”