Other states trying to lure away CT gunmakers - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Other states trying to lure away CT gunmakers

Texas Gov. Rick Perry Texas Gov. Rick Perry
South Dakota Gov. Dennis Daugaard South Dakota Gov. Dennis Daugaard

The governors from Texas and South Dakota were in Connecticut Monday hoping to convince gun manufacturers to pack up and leave the state.

Manufacturers such as Colt and Stag Arms met with Texas Gov. Rick Perry and South Dakota Gov. Dennis Daugaard on Monday.

Perry met with officials from gun manufacturers at Max's Dowtown in Hartford. He invited roughly a dozen companies to the lunch, who are upset at Connecticut's more strict gun laws and want the companies to move to his states.

More than 100 guns are illegal in the state, as well as ammunition magazines of more than 10 rounds.

Both governors were expected to offer the companies incentives.

"I think we are in the early stages of the conversations," Perry said. "This is a process. I don't expect me to be announcing anybody relocating in the next 72 hours."

Perry, who recently ran for president, shrugged off his visit as political and said this visit is strictly about competition.

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy was not invited to the lunch, but he said he decided to show up anyway.

"I came to welcome the governor to the state of Connecticut," Malloy said. "We want him to understand what real good Yankee hospitality is."

Connecticut companies that make guns and gun parts have been checking their options ever since lawmakers passed some of the toughest gun laws in the country in response to the Newtown school shooting.

On Dec. 14, 20 first-grade children and six adults were shot and killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

Perry wants to show Connecticut companies how friendly Texas can be. He's spending a million dollars on an ad campaign to win them over.

"Texas seems to be much more of a business friendly community than Connecticut is," said John Szalan, who is a gun parts manufacturer.

Perry also met with Colt Manufacturing Monday as well.

"Texas Governor Rick Perry's visit to Colt today was cordial and informal," said Dennis Veilleux, who is the president and CEO for Colt's Manufacturing Company LLC. in a statement. "The Governor took the opportunity to try out Colt products on our firing range and assured us that we would always be welcome in Texas."

Daugaard went to Stag Arms in New Britain to talk to the company's leadership and discuss possible offers.

"As nation's manufacturing base has declined over the last decade, South Dakota's has grown," Daugaard said. "It's in part due to the low cost of doing business."

Officials with Stag Arms discussed why he wants to move if he can't sell his guns in Connecticut.

"Because you want to be in a place where people like you. You want to be in an area where your business is seen as a positive thing," said Mark Malkowski, who owns Stag Arms. "You have some support from the state. We have no support here."

Stag Arms has about 200 employees and Malkowski told Eyewitness News many of them have told him, they would consider moving.

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