Confusion in the governor’s office


Titans of the arms and ammunition industry are contemplating relocating.

Huge international firms such as Mossburg, Beretta, Magpul and more have warned local legislatures they may move to states with warmer political climates if gun control bills are passed into law.

Magpul took out newspaper ads warning Colorado lawmakers of their intent.

An “assault weapon” ban and magazine capacity restriction being debated in Maryland were enough to prompt Beretta to publicly discuss moving elsewhere, since their legendary 9mm pistol with its 13-round magazine, which is issued to U.S. troops as the M9, and a military-style rifle the firm has planned would likely be banned in their home state.

There are rumors that even Remington – one of the nation’s oldest arms and ammo manufacturers generating an estimated $ half-billion in revenues – is considering moving its New York facility.

While the loss of these companies could cripple struggling state economies in the northeast, the possibility of landing one of these massive gunmakers has prompted governors in gun-friendly states to take quick action.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry has sent more than two dozen personal letters to arms and ammunition firms, inviting them to move to Texas.

Officials in Idaho, Pennsylvania, West Virgina, South Dakota and Alabama have also joined the hunt.

Perry and the other governors saw how Mississippi lured ammunition manufacturer Olin-Winchester away from their East Alton, Ill. Home. The company’s new plant built in Oxford  expects to employ 1,000 Mississippians.

That said, I wanted to see whether Florida was entering the guns and ammo sweepstakes.

It makes sense. Florida is already home to scores of similar firms, and has some of the country’s most relaxed firearms laws.

Early Tuesday afternoon, I posed a simple question to Gov. Rick Scott’s office: Has the governor personally invited any of these arms and ammunition manufacturers to relocate to Florida?

An hour later I was called by a confused Sean Helton, a spokesman for Enterprise Florida, the state’s economic development agency. He didn’t know why the governor’s office had referred the call to him, and he had no information on whom Gov. Scott had or hadn’t invited south.

“I can’t speak for the governor,” he said. “I’ll call them back.”

Jackie Schultz, Scott’s spokeswoman called an hour or so later, saying she was “going to look into it.”

It’s a simple question, I explained,  either the governor has reached out or he hasn’t.

“He reaches out to a lot of businesses,” she said, adding “Gov. Scott strongly supports the Second Amendment.”

Hours later, Schultz called to say she had “no knowledge” of any invitations extended by her boss, but she was still checking.

“He calls businesses every single day,” she said. “He calls so many businesses.”

She was unable to pose the question to the governor directly, she explained, because he was “traveling.”

Schultz promised to call again this morning, not with an answer, but with an “update.”

When she updates me, I’ll update you.






About Author

Lee Williams can’t remember a time in his life when he wasn’t shooting. Before becoming a journalist, Lee served in the Army and worked as a police officer. He’s earned more than a dozen journalism awards as a reporter, and three medals of valor as a cop. He is an NRA-certified law enforcement firearms instructor, an avid tactical shooter and a training junkie. When he’s not busy as a senior investigative reporter, he is usually shooting his AKs, XDs and CZs. If you don’t run into him at a local gun range, you can reach him at 941.284.8553, by email, or by regular mail to 1777 Main St., Sarasota, FL 34236. You can follow him on Twitter: @HT_GunWriter and on Facebook @The Gun Writer.

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