Republicans Woo ‘Persecuted’ Gunmakers To Their States

Republicans in a number of states are making overtures to gun manufacturers located in states that have passed post-Sandy Hook gun control legislation.“Guns are going to be made in the United States,” Rhode Island House Minority Leader Brian Newberry (R) told NPR’s Marketplace this week. “No matter what your position on guns. These are high paying jobs and they’re quality jobs.”

Rhode Island’s Republican House Caucus has invited Colt, based in Connecticut, and Berrata, based in Maryland, to relocate to the Ocean State. The move was an attempt to preempt Rhode Island Democrats’ roll out of their own proposed gun-control measures, which are set to be unveiled Tuesday.

“Our focus should be on rebuilding the economy and making Rhode Island a place that attracts high quality private sector jobs, not chases them away,” Newberry said in a statement on Monday, according to ABC’s Providence, R.I.-affiliate. “Instead, [Tuesday] promises to be yet another high profile ‘social issue’ sideshow that will merely perpetuate Rhode Island’s reputation as a place where we always have our eye on the wrong ball.”

In Texas, Rep. Steve Stockman — the lawmaker who threatened to impeach President Obama over his plan to reduce gun violence — responded to Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy (D) signing his state’s new gun control legislation last week by posting an open letter to gun manufacturers on his official House of Representatives website.

“Attention all persecuted gun owners and unwanted manufacturers,” Stockman wrote. “Come to Texas!!! The state which believes the whole Bill of Rights should be followed, not just the ‘politically correct’ parts. Your rights will not be infringed upon here, unlike many current local regimes.”

Even budding Republicans are getting in on the act. The Tampa Bay Young Republicans organization wants Magpul Industries, a Colorado firearms accessories maker, to come to Florida.

“We need diversity of employment in Hillsborough County,” Tampa Bay Young Republicans president Jonathan Torres told the Tampa Bay Times on Monday.

In response to Colorado’s new gun-control law, Magpul announced on its company Facebook page last month that it “will have no choice but to leave” the state. According to the Times, the company’s announcement has also received interest from officials in Alaska, Indiana, and Wyoming.

In Rhode Island, at least, which is dealing with a 9.8 percent unemployment rate, it is not clear that gun manufacturing would solve any of the state’s larger issues.

“Even if some gun manufacturers were to come here, it would help somewhat,” University of Rhode Island economics professor Leonard Lardaro told Marketplace. “It would not be, by any means, a game changer.”