Yesterday, I spoke with senior company officers at more than a half-dozen companies that could be impacted – significantly- by proposed legislation.
Today, representatives from at least six gun companies are visiting states that have rolled out their proverbial welcome mats. Tax incentives, fast-tracking of permitting, worker recruitment and job training and more are only a few of the carrots being dangled for their consideration.
These companies aren’t bluffing, they’re making contingency plans.
One very senior exec told me “if it weren’t for the fact that we’d be devastating the area we’ve called home for a very long time, this company would already be gone Fortunately, for them, we’re still more concerned about the good people who show up for work every day and give us their best efforts.”
Imagine the allure of being able to move just a few minutes away and being free constant hassles with an anti-gun legislature. That’s the case for several gun-related businesses in Illinois. Moving out of Illinois wouldn’t be the equivalent of your moving cross-town.
I don’t expect all of them to move, but if you were looking at expansion, would you be looking at Illinois-or Iowa? That is an easy decision. Of course, if you could work in two locations, why wouldn’t you take your expansion-and future plans- to Texas or Arkansas or Kentucky or any of the other states already calling you with ready-to-go locations.
Consider Remington. Their Ilion, New York location employs around 1,000 people.
Remington has said -repeatedly- even before Governor Cuomo rammed his anti-gun legislation through the state house – they would consider “all alternatives” including relocation if the atmosphere grew any more toxic for them. The long-running disagreements between Remington and New York’s anti-gun legislature would have had me calling for moving trucks decades ago.
But I’m thinking as an individual, not as a corporate officer responsible for keeping a company running. In ideal circumstances a corporate relocation can take upwards of three years.
Apparently, legislators look at these warnings as nothing more than political posturing.
But the stories about the letters and phone calls and visits from the economic development groups from pro-gun states are all true. The opportunity to relocate might never be any better than right now.
One governor was very direct when we spoke: “We want the gun companies. We’re going after them- aggressively.” That’s why states from Texas to Kentucky have development officers on the ground in Colorado, New York, Illinois and Maryland.
Last week a spokesman for Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley said the governor believed “we can have this (restrictive gun legislation) legislation and keep our companies”. That drew one pretty blunt response: “Berettas do not bluff.”
When your family business has been a going concern for more than 500 years and you already live a continent away, moving a few hundred miles in any direction is only an incremental adjustment.
There’s another question: why isn’t anyone reporting that gun control has always been a key part of racial discrimination?
Prior to the Civil War, blacks were forbidden to own firearms. The Civil Rights Act of 1866 removed that restriction and the adoption of the Fourteenth Amendment resulted in many Southern states to either putting high taxes on guns or outlawing inexpensive ones. Effectively, they priced poor former slaves out of the market.
If you think there aren’t politicians who think that way today, look again at Chicago and Washington, D.C.
They’re monuments to the failure of anti-gun regulations. And the United States Supreme Court has already told them to change.
But their politicians continue to work to keep law-abiding city residents, regardless of their skin color, unarmed. Those law-abiding citizens appear to be the only people who don’t own a gun.
And their “elected representatives” seem determined to keep them that way.