Paul LePage read TTAG. Or something firearms related. Because the Republican Governor of Maine knows that gunmakers are looking to leave states where their products have been banned, restricted and vilified. So he’s written an open letter to the firearms industry asking them to reconsider their southern exodus strategy. [Make the jump for the full text.] He wants them to head north, to the Pine Tree State. You want cold? Never mind. He’s promising Beretta, Colt and Magpul lobster. And “I will never sign anti-gun legislation that erodes the rights of Maine citizens, drives your business away or infringes on the U.S. Constitution or the State of Maine Constitution.” Yes, well, I bet previous governors of New York, Connecticut and Maryland made the same pledge. Just sayin . . .
When Americans think of Maine, they often think of rocky coasts, lobster and moose. But Maine also has a long and proud tradition of military service, a legacy of world-class manufacturing, and a high percentage of personal firearm ownership.
That’s why I invite manufacturers of firearms and related accessories—some of which are under siege in their home states by politicians pushing anti-gun legislation—to come to Maine. As a state that is fiercely protective of our right to bear arms, we will welcome you and your business.
When a Bangor daily newspaper in February tried to get the names, addresses and dates of birth of all Mainers with concealed-firearms permits, we leapt into action, drafting and passing a bill in 48 hours to temporarily shield the personal information. Democrats joined Republicans to swiftly enact this emergency legislation. (Legislation to permanently shield the information is in committee.)
Although Maine has one of the highest rates of firearm ownership in the country, we also have one of the lowest rates of gun violence. We are a safe state, and we plan to keep it that way. Even better, our dedication to protect the rights of law-abiding gun owners crosses party lines. Maine Democrats, many of whom serve rural areas where hunting and gun ownership are a way of life, readily agree with Republicans that the rights of firearms owners must not be infringed.
We are dismayed to see strict anti-gun legislation in states that are home to some of our country’s best firearms manufacturers. Beretta USA Corp. in Maryland, Colt Manufacturing Co. in Connecticut and Magpul Industries in Colorado are facing hostile—and hysterical—legislation from politicians who slap them in the face for providing their states with jobs, opportunity and revenue.
Beretta, Colt and Magpul: Come to Maine. Our tradition ranges from Hiram S. Maxim, inventor of the first fully automatic machine gun, who was born in 1840 in Sangerville, Maine, to the renowned Bath Iron Works, which produces the world’s most advanced surface warships. As the Navy said during World War II, “Bath-built is best-built.” Other firearms and defense contractors in Maine include Smith & Wesson and General Dynamics GD -1.02% .
When it comes to firearms, the rugged individualism of Mainers is alive and well. Richard Dyke acquired Bushmaster Firearms in the late 1970s and produced high-quality, AR-15-type rifles until 2006, when he sold the company. The new owner consolidated manufacturing with its operations in New York, vacated the facility in Windham, Maine, and laid off the local employees.
But Mr. Dyke still owned the facility. So he started another company, Windham Weaponry, and in 2011 he put his former employees back to work making high-quality rifles that are already considered some of the best on the market. That’s how Mainers do it.
Maine is home to L.L. Bean, the supplier of outdoorsmen and women, as well as Kittery Trading Post and national retailers Cabela’s CAB +0.11% and Wal-Mart,WMT +0.99% all of which offer firearms to consumers. Just as we welcome and support these companies and the jobs and opportunities they create, we would welcome and support the manufacturers of firearms and accessories.
Beretta, Colt, Magpul and any others: In Maine you will find air, rail and seaports that can carry your exceptional products across the country and across the globe. You will find hardworking Mainers, and you will find a governor who is ready to provide incentives and guarantees that will make it attractive for you to set up shop in our state.
I will never sign anti-gun legislation that erodes the rights of Maine citizens, drives your business away or infringes on the U.S. Constitution or the State of Maine Constitution.
Come to where you are welcome and where you will be appreciated. Come to Maine. I’ll even throw in some lobster.
Paul LePage, Governor of Maine