Stag Arms, a gun manufacturing company based in Connecticut, may choose to modify its AR-15 design rather than moving out of the state.
In the wake of the Newtown shooting tragedy Connecticut passed some of the strictest gun control laws in the country. Under these new laws, Stag Arms would not be able to sell any of the guns that it currently manufacturers within state borders. Consequently, Stag Arms threatened that it might have to uproot and move elsewhere, taking all of its local jobs along with it.
The gunsmiths at Stag Arms are considering a less drastic alternative. They are experimenting with a new design for their AR-15 rifle that would be legal under Connecticut’s laws. Mark Malkowski, the owner of Stag Arms, stated, “We are carefully looking at the new law, and there are some things we interpret to be legal.”
The new design is a shot in the dark. Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy had a mixed response to the announcement, on the one hand criticizing Stag Arms for its profit-driven strategy but also acknowledging that the gun could be legal. He stated, “It says that gun companies will do anything to sell guns. I can’t prejudge something that I haven’t seen or hasn’t been analyzed, but… people make things to sell them.”
In that same vein of mixed messages, Gov. Malloy supported the ban but met with gun manufacturers and asked them not to leave.
Malloy’s half-hearted appeals may not be enough to sway Stag Arms. Malkowski stated that he met with Texas Governor Rick Perry last week and he also has plans to meet with Arkansas Governor Mike Beebe.
Staying in Connecticut likely won’t have a major impact on the company’s sales. Less than 5% of Stag Arm’s profits come from its home state, and the company’s AR-15 will be illegal to sell in Connecticut no matter where the company is located. The company’s threats are largely a political message, warning legislators that restricting gun manufacturers has consequences – consequences that Malloy will feel, no doubt, if Stag Arms takes its jobs to pro-gun states.