In response to proposals for costly new regulations on firearms manufacturers in New York and Connecticut, state Rep. Gerald Mullery has invited three gunmakers to relocate to Northeastern Pennsylvania.
‚??Northeastern Pennsylvania is a location where gun manufacturers can flourish,‚?Ě said Mullery, D-Newport Township. ‚??We offer a friendly business climate, qualified employees with a strong work ethic, and of course, a rich outdoor heritage.‚?Ě
Mullery, a member of the House Game and Fisheries Committee, last week sent letters to the chief executive officers of Remington Arms Co., Colt Manufacturing Co. and Kimber Manufacturing Inc. detailing the benefits of a move to Northeastern Pennsylvania. Remington and Kimber have factories in New York, and Colt has a factory in Connecticut.
Mullery, 42, said New York lawmakers have proposed a form of ballistics identification called ‚??microstamping‚?Ě for all semi-automatic pistols sold in the state, as well as limiting gun sales to one per person per month and requiring background checks for anyone purchasing ammunition.
Microstamping uses lasers to engrave a marking of the make, model and serial number on the tip of a gun‚??s firing pin, which imprints that information on spent cartridge cases.
In response to the proposal, Remington has said it would consider moving its factory in Ilion, N.Y. to another state rather than spend large sums of money to reconfigure it. The factory employs about 1,000 people.
Kimber, which has a factory in Yonkers, said a microstamping law would force it to lay off employees, Mullery said, adding his research found Colt has said it would leave Connecticut if legislators there approve microstamping legislation.
Mullery, who is a gun owner, outdoorsman and member of the National Rifle Association, said the companies would be welcomed in Northeastern Pennsylvania.
Messages left with the companies were not returned Thursday.
‚??I reviewed Pennsylvania‚??s gun regulations and found that our state matched the profile sought by these manufacturers,‚?Ě he said. ‚??Given our geographic proximity to New York and Connecticut, our wealth of hard-working citizens, and our rich gun and sportsman history, I decided to reach out to these companies.‚?Ě
Mullery plans to reach out to local business development organizations to join in his efforts. He also encourages residents to contact the companies and express that they are welcome in our region.
‚??I certainly cannot do this alone,‚?Ě he said.
Bill Moore, president/CEO at the Greater Wilkes-Barre Chamber of Business and Industry, said his organization will work with any legislator who identifies a company looking to relocate.
‚??We certainly have the availability of land, plenty of industrial parks and a quality workforce to offer,‚?Ě Moore said. ‚??We would welcome with open arms any company seriously considering locating here.‚?Ě
Moore, who still commutes from his home in Connecticut, said the climate there for economic development ‚??is not particularly good.‚?Ě He said Pennsylvania has a lot of advantages over Connecticut.
According to the Tax Foundation‚??s 2013 edition of the State Business Tax Climate Index, Pennsylvania was given an overall ranking of 19 out of 50 states, while Connecticut was 40th and New York 50th, Moore said.
In his letter to the gunmakers, Mullery wrote: ‚??Over the years, the Pennsylvania General Assembly has worked hard to eliminate burdensome regulations, lower taxes and reform workers‚?? compensation.‚?Ě
Mullery noted that DCED helps businesses relocate and expand with financial assistance and technological support. And partnerships between state government, universities and businesses help ensure there are qualified employees. He also reminded the gun manufacturers that Pennsylvania has 1.5 million acres of state gamelands for wildlife habitat and hunting.
‚??In short, there is a huge market for gun manufacturers and retailers in Northeastern Pennsylvania,‚?Ě Mullery wrote.
Mullery said he will follow up his letters with phone calls this week to see what interest the companies have in talking to him about relocating.
To read Mullery‚??s letter, visit www.timesleader.com