gun control

Gun Industry Dilemma: Should I Stay Or Should I Go Now?

by Dan Haar, Courant.com  |  published on April 7, 2013

At the moment when Gov. Dannel P. Malloy signed into law what might be the nation’s strictest gun controls, Jonathan Scalise was on the phone with his accountant.

It’s not that Scalise didn’t care what Malloy was up to. On the contrary, the sweeping law will affect him about as much as any business owner. His company, Ammunition Storage Components, is one of the largest makers of bullet magazines for semiautomatic weapons — and most of his products are now illegal in the state where his father and grandfather owned machine shops before him.

Now, the family’s homegrown tradition is in peril.

Scalise, his accountant, lawyer and a few industry colleagues are looking into a move to a friendlier state. And it’s not just ASC, a New Britain business with 100 employees, that might pull up stakes. Scalise’s other company in New Britain, Marsam Metal Finishing, and at least one other firm in the firearms industry are part of the joint plan.

In all, more than 300 people would lose their jobs or be forced to move to a locale like Arkansas, South Dakota, Kansas or Texas, to name just four states that are wooing Scalise with tax breaks, cheap labor and a government that has open arms for arms-makers.

“We’re doing a due diligence analysis state-by-state,” Scalise said.

Scalise badly wants to stay in Connecticut, where he and his wife have four children ages 5 to 12. So does Mark Malkowski, owner of Stag Arms a few hundred yards away in New Britain, and the executives at O.F. Mossberg & Sons and Colt’s Manufacturing Co. — all of them makers of the now banned military-style rifles at the heart of the law.

The trouble is not the direct effects of the ban — they’re allowed to continue manufacturing, and each firm will lose a few percentage points of their sales — but rather, the companies’ standing in an industry where customers famously punish certain brands.

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