Second Amendment

Gun Makers Abandon Unfriendly States

And taking their jobs to welcoming jurisdictions


Firearms manufacturers are pulling up stakes in at least two of the five states that enacted tough new guns laws following the school shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School last year.

In the months after those shootings, governors in New York, Connecticut and Maryland signed broad new bans on assault weapons. Delaware passed a law requiring universal background checks. Colorado adopted background checks and a ban on high-capacity magazines.

"To have this many states have so many changes in one year is absolutely unprecedented," says Robyn Thomas of the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence. She says gun control advocates are now targeting states they weren't even thinking about before. "So if we look at states like Washington and Oregon and Virginia and even Nevada, there are opportunities there that we weren't able to fully realize this year because this is still sort of a new reality."

But this "new reality" — if that's what it is — does not sit well with the firearms industry. In Colorado, firearms maker Magpul Industries announced it's leaving the state in response to a law that bans high-capacity magazines. Gun maker Beretta threatened to leave Maryland. Beretta now says it will stay put but add jobs only in other states. In Connecticut, at least one rifle maker is planning to move because of a broad new ban on assault weapons that was signed in April.