BRISTOL (TheBlaze/AP) — A Connecticut gun-maker has announced Wednesday it intends to leave the state following the passage of gun control legislation it says tramples on the rights of citizens and does not show enough consideration for the industry.
Bristol-based PTR says in a statement posted on its website that it has not decided where it will move, but it has commitments from most employees to relocate. The company makes military-style rifles and employs more than 40 people.
PTR Vice President John McNamara said Wednesday that it expects to make a more formal announcement about a move within six weeks. The company encouraged other gun manufacturers to follow suit
“We feel that our industry as a whole will continue to be threatened so long as it remains in a state where its elected leaders have no regard for the rights of those who produce and manufacture its wealth,” the statement reads.
“We are making a call to all involved in our industry to leave this state, close your doors and show our politicians the true consequences of their hasty and uninformed actions. We encourage those in our industry to abandon this state as its leaders have abandoned the proud heritage that forged our freedom.”
Several Connecticut gun manufacturers have indicated they are thinking about moving after Gov. Dannel P. Malloy last week signed the law imposing new restrictions on weapons and large-capacity magazines. The state’s new laws have been heralded by Malloy as the toughest in the nation.
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Larry Keane, the senior vice president of the National Sports Shooting Foundation, the powerful gun lobby located in Newtown, Conn., warned that the new laws could entice additional gun manufacturers to move out of the state. He also hinted that there could be a legal challenge to the laws.
Connecticut is home to a large number of gun and ammunition companies, including the iconic Colt Manufacturing Co.
Keane told Business Insider that the CEO of at least one other gun company besides PTR had expressed a desire to move. He thinks that more manufacturers are looking to get out of what many perceive as an increasingly hostile environment to gun owners, noting comments made by Malloy last weekend comparing NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre to “one of the clowns at the circus.”
The move by PTR may surprise some lawmakers, like U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), who haven’t been taking gun makers’ threats seriously.
“Gun manufacturers are like other businesses in looking for the highest quality workforce, the best business environment in terms of transportation and taxes and other features unrelated to any regulatory action,” Blumenthal said in an interview last week.
“Their markets are national. What happens in Connecticut affects only purchases here,” he added.