Logo courtesy of stagarms.com, composite by America’s 1st Freedom.
States that are waging war against the right to keep and bear arms are finding out that the battle is costing them good manufacturing jobs. As Stag Arms LLC pulls up stakes for a move to Wyoming, Connecticut has joined the list of anti-gun states that are losing good-wage, skilled-labor jobs.
“We needed to solve for three things: visionary customer-centric leadership, a business-friendly, pro-growth economic environment and a cultural climate that reflects Stag’s brand image of independence and free spiritedness,” Elie Azar, founder and chief executive officer of White Wolf Capital LLC, which owns a controlling interest in Stag Arms, said in a statement Nov. 18 about the move to Cheyenne, Wyo.
Consider some of the moves in recent years: Weatherby Inc. bade farewell to California for Wyoming. Kimber Manufacturing Inc. picked Alabama, instead of its long-time home of New York, for its expansion. Check-Mate Industries fled New York for the welcoming arms of Georgia. Magpul Industries left Colorado for Wyoming (production) and Texas (administrative offices).
While it’s not yet on the scale of the migration of textile jobs from New England to the South in the second half of the 1900s, the similarities are striking. Material manufacturers in the 1950s and 1960s were fleeing the high cost of doing business; today, the gun industry is likewise looking for more politically hospitable climes.
Wyoming has been particularly adept at attracting firearm companies with a magnetic pull not only because of its political embrace of the Second Amendment, but also because the Equality State has laid out the welcome mat in terms of training people to work in the industry.
“Cheyenne came out on top on most of the individual criteria,” said Elie Azar, founder and CEO of White Wolf Capital, LLC, which owns a controlling interest in Stag Arms, “and considering our requirements as a whole, it was by far the superior site. Not only is Wyoming an incredibly hospitable place to do business, it is also a top destination for outdoor recreation, including hunting and shooting sports, which reflects its citizens’ unwavering support for the Second Amendment.”
In commenting about Stag Arms, Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon stated: “We have a deep-seated commitment to the Second Amendment that I will continue to uphold. Ultimately, Stag Arms had to make a business decision and I believe this announcement is an affirmation that Wyoming is continuing to cultivate a culture that allows private enterprise to flourish. My administration will work collaboratively with the Wyoming Business Council and Cheyenne LEADS to ensure Stag's move goes smoothly. I thank Stag’s Board of Directors and Chad Larsen for selecting Wyoming.”
That sentiment echoes one that Adam Weatherby voiced when he announced his company’s plans to move to Sheridan, Wyo. Besides its staunch defense of the right to bear arms, Wyoming attracts big-game hunters and, in Weatherby’s case, committed to a training program in machine tooling, a key skill for arms making, at a nearby college.
Stag Arms is noted for making AR-15-style rifles—one of the most popular rifle platforms in the country, but one that today’s anti-gunners criticize as serving no valid purpose.
The company currently has a staff of about 20, is looking to grow with the move, targeting a payroll of 60 or more once the move is complete.