Mother Jones’ article How America’s Gun Manufacturers Are Quietly Getting Richer Off Taxpayers bemoans the state subsidies (grants, tax abatements, job creation incentives, etc.) handed out to gun companies relocating their factories to gun-friendly, right-to-work states. Well they would, wouldn’t they? Although MJ notes that “Southern states have long relied on financial and regulatory incentives to attract manufacturers from more industrialized parts of the country,” to say the anti-gun publication is offended by the gunmakers’ financial sweeteners would be an understatement. Here’s their list of hand-outs . . .
Sturm Ruger, Southport, Connecticut
Move: In 2014, the nation’s largest gun company opened a new factory in Mayodan, North Carolina, instead of expanding an existing factory in New Hampshire.
Subsidy: $15.5 million in state tax breaks, employee training, infrastructure construction, and other incentives. The company has also received $150,288 in training subsidies from New Hampshire.
Berretta USA, Accokeek, Maryland
Move: The Italian gun maker last year closed its Maryland plant and moved all US production to a massive factory in Gallatin, Tennessee.
Subsidy: The company will receive $10.41 million in state-funded building improvements and job training grants. The town of Gallatin also kicked in land and tax abatements worth nearly $4 million.
Smith & Wesson, Springfield, Massachusetts.
Move: Publicly traded Smith & Wesson announced in 2010 that it would move its hunting rifle division from New Hampshire to Springfield, Massachusetts.
Subsidy: $6.6 million in state and local tax breaks. The company has also received $158,791 in worker-training subsidies from Massachusetts.
Colt’s Manufacturing, Hartford, Connecticut
Move: In 2011 Florida Gov. Rick Scott announced a deal in which the 180-year-old gun company would open a factory in Kissimmee, saying it showed the state was “a defender of our right to bear arms.” But then Colt walked away from the project for unknown reasons. The company declared bankruptcy last year.
Subsidy: $1.66 million in state and local incentives. Government officials are now trying to claw back the money.
O.F. Mossberg & Sons, North Haven, Connecticut.
Move: The world’s largest manufacturer of pump-action shotguns has gradually shifted manufacturing from Connecticut to a factory in Eagle Pass, Texas. In 2014, it added 116,000 square feet to the factory, which now accounts for 90 percent of its production.
Subsidy: A $300,000 grant in 2014 from the taxpayer-funded Texas Enterprise Fund.
Kimber Manufacturing, Elmsford, New York
Move: America’s largest manufacturer of 1911 pistols hasn’t moved out of New York—at least not yet. In 2012 the company warned that the state’s NY SAFE gun control law might “cause it to reconsider its current expansion.”
Subsidy: In 2009, Kimber received a $700,000 state grant to expand its manufacturing capacity in Yonkers. In 2012 and 2013, it received nearly $300,000 in local tax credits.
Interestingly, wallethub.com lists Idaho — not on MJ’s list — as America’s most firearms industry dependent state. Turns out the Gem State has at least 180 firearms and ammunition makers followed on that tally by other states not mentioned above: Alaska, Montana, South Dakota, Arkansas, Wyoming, New Hampshire and Minnesota. Seems the firearms industry is a job engine throughout the U.S. Who knew?