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How Gun Companies are Standing Up for the Second Amendment

by Kyle Wintersteen   |  March 4th, 2013 33


There are many similarities between the current wave of gun control insanity and the proposals by President Bill Clinton in the early ’90s. However, there is one fortunate difference in the latest battle: During the Clinton era, many firearm companies chose to remain silent, or even worse, forged a compromise with the administration.

But today’s manufacturers are standing up for the Second Amendment. They’re applying political pressure to those who oppose gun rights—often in bold and creative ways. Here are just a few examples of how manufacturers of firearms and firearm accessories are fighting for your constitutional liberties.

Refusing Sales to Government Agencies in Gun-Ban States
When California passed the .50 Caliber BMG Regulation Act of 2004, banning .50-caliber rifles, Barrett Rifles made a major statement: It would no longer sell rifles to California state agencies, including law enforcement. Barrett President Ronnie Barrett—a law-enforcement veteran—was lauded as a patriot by the pro-gun community, and why not? He sacrificed a great deal of profit in the name of standing up for what’s right.

Apparently he still holds those principles. When the New York state Senate passed perhaps the strictest statewide gun-control law ever, Barrett released a statement declaring that it would no longer sell firearms to New York government agencies or any legislators who voted for the law.

Other companies have taken notice of the weight such action carries and have made similar moves. The following companies have announced they will restrict sales to state and local governments that impose gun controls on their citizens:

  • Olympic Arms, one of the first companies to take such action in a powerful statement that declared, “If the leaders of the State of New York are willing to limit the right of the free and law-abiding citizens of New York to arm themselves as they see fit under the Rights enumerate to all citizens of the United State through the Second Amendment, we feel as though the legislators and government entities within the State of New York should have to abide by the same restrictions.
    “This action has caused a division of the people into classes: Those the government deems valuable enough to protect with modern firearms, and those whose lives have been deemed as having less value, and whom the government has decided do not deserve the right to protect themselves with the same firearms. Olympic Arms will not support such behavior or policy against any citizen of this great nation.”
  • LaRue Tactical, whose snarky statement noted, “Effective today, in an effort to see that no legal mistakes are made by LaRue Tactical and/or its employees, we will apply all current State and Local Laws (as applied to civilians) to state and local law enforcement / government agencies. In other words, LaRue Tactical will limit all sales to what law-abiding citizens residing in their districts can purchase or possess.”
  • Cheaper Than Dirt, whose statement read in part, “It has been and will continue to be Cheaper Than Dirt’s policy to not to sell prohibited items to government agencies and/or agents in states, counties, cities, and municipalities that have enacted restrictive gun control laws against their citizens. We support and encourage other companies that share in this policy.”
  • York Arms, whose statement included the brief-but-powerful sentence, “For LE/Govt customers in New York: Your orders have been cancelled [sic].”
  • Rounding out this brief list of examples are Alex Arms, OFA Tactical, Top Gun Supply, Extreme Firepower Inc. and Templar Custom.

Such actions energize the civilian consumer base and have made national headlines, but do they actually carry the intended weight? Will such a strategy cause politicians to reconsider their actions? Some, including Ronnie Barrett, say yes, given all state and local law enforcement has depended on the civilian-owned manufacture of firearms since the 1968 closing of the Springfield Armory. The above-list may comprise but a portion of the U.S. firearms industry, but the longer it grows, the more likely anti-gun states are to rethink their laws, or face supplying their policemen with sharp sticks.

Threatening to Move Manufacturing Facilities
In case refusing to sell to state agencies doesn’t put enough pressure on anti-gun politicians, gun makers are also threatening to hit them where it really counts: their economies. Several companies have informed their state leadership that if new, restrictive gun laws are passed, the companies will pack up and move to other states—taking their employees, tax dollars and economic impact with them.

For instance, when New York and Connecticut considered microstamping legislation last fall, Remington and Colt threatened to move elsewhere.

Think that wouldn’t matter to a senator or to a representative whose district includes an arms maker? Consider the fact that Connecticut-based Colt employs about 900 people. Just think if the state’s other, larger companies—such as Sturm, Ruger & Co. and Mossberg—joined in the exodus. The firearms industry has approximately a $1.3 billion financial impact on the Connecticut economy. That’s not pocket change.

And if Remington left Ilion, N.Y., many local economies would feel an immediate impact from which they may never recover. Big Green employs 1,200 workers. The children of Ilion attend Remington Elementary School.

“This whole valley is run by arms. Most of your stores and everybody here, restaurants, everything, is contingent on that plant,” one local resident told NPR.

Clearly the New York state government—despite passing laws that restrict the very arms made by Remington and sister company Bushmaster—sees great merit in keeping the factory in Ilion. Since 2009, Remington has received more than $5 million in state subsidies to help bring in jobs.

Yet aside from throwing a few bucks Remington’s way, New York has done just about all it can to make Remington feel unwelcome. Remington has not repeated its threat to leave the state in the wake of New York’s rededicated gun-control efforts, nor has another major New York gun maker, Kimber. Much speculation has swirled as to whether they will, and whether other manufacturers in states with anti-gun governments will do the same.

If they do decide to leave, they’ll find plenty of willing hosts. On Feb. 22, pro-gun Texas Gov. Rick Perry sent a letter to 26 gun and ammo makers, inviting them to move operations to his gun-friendly state. However, Gov. Perry has competition from Mississippi House Speaker Philip Gunn, who sent 14 similarly worded letters to such companies as Magpul (Colorado), Ruger (Connecticut), Smith & Wesson (Massachusetts), SIG Sauer (New Hampshire), Mossberg (Connecticut), Remington (New York), Kimber (New York) and more. In addition, government officials from Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Wyoming, Idaho and South Carolina have all sought to lure gun and ammo makers to their states in some fashion.

Magpul Sticks Its Neck Out
Few companies have so vocally defended our rights in recent weeks than Magpul Industries. It loudly entered the fray on Feb. 17 with a full-page ad in The Denver Post, saying it will leave Colorado—taking 600 jobs and $85 million with it—if the state passes a proposed ban on standard capacity magazines (The bill has passed the Colorado House and awaits Senate consideration.).

When some legislators called the company’s bluff, Magpul posted the following to its Facebook page: “We’re hearing some rumors that the Gov and the Dem caucus think we are bluffing. Just to clarify for them, then…we’re not a political company. We don’t play political games. We’ve made our position very clear, very publicly. We would not survive lying to our customer base, nor would we ever consider it. If you pass this, we will leave, and you will own it.”

Magpul has further thumbed its nose at state legislators by announcing a program to allow Colorado residents to purchase up to 10 standard capacity magazines. Any orders placed by Coloradoans will also be moved to the front of the line, ensuring orders are received before anti-gun legislators can act.

If there was any doubt how gun and ammo manufacturers feel about Second Amendment rights and the legitimacy of their businesses, it’s been erased. Many are making it clear to federal, state and local governments just how much gun makers are depended upon to arm law enforcement agencies, fuel state economies and more. Legislators who ignore these facts may have some explaining to do.

  • Aaron Lerberg

    I’m proud of those companies like Barrett who are brave enough to stand up for the Second Amendment.

    Sadly, until the companies who make the majority of guns used by law enforcement get on the bus it’s a gesture without any teeth. Somebody needs to call out Remington/Bushmaster, Colt, Sigarms, Glock, and S&W

    It’s pretty crappy that Colt and Remington threaten to leave over stamping issues but not the protection of civil liberty. Put your money where your mouth is.

    • Shawn O’Loughlin

      @ Aaron: you’re absolutely right about Remington/Bushmaster, Colt, Sigarms, Glock, and S&W. We need them on board, along with FN.

      • Aaron Lerberg

        +1 on FN. Someone needs to put the question to Ammunition companies too!

    • tiko

      Aaron stamping issues are a very serious threat to the law abiding gun owner. There was nothing “crappy” about those companies taking a stand for us. This is not a time for divided loyalties. Some of our worst enemies are gun owners who think that their hunting rifles will be held as sacred. Many fall for such stupid stunts as Obama posing holding a shotgun. They think that a false picture makes him their friend. It does not.

      • Aaron Lerberg

        Tiko I agree stamping was a serious issue but the motivation to pull up stakes was motivated by the bottom line not the defense of liberty. When I see the major players doing anything other than giving lip service to this issue I will consider buying from them. Until that changes my black rifles will come from Armalite.

  • Peter Furman

    I understand too well what this tyrannical government,these tyrants are trying to pull as in my 65 years I have seen the Constitution assaulted by those who take a solemn oath to protect,defend and support it!

    It is hard to find an honest politician these days as it has for 6 decades. Checks and balances is dead,Due Process is now a swat team breaking down your door,entering your home without a warrant,without a reason,in contradiction to the Constitution,The Bill Of Rights,The Declaration Of Independence now,the Declaration of Dependence!

    The Constitution,if nothing else was written to “Limit” protect the people,the individual from the Tyrant and tyranny!

    The founders and framers knew “too well” what arrogant,abusive,corrupt government can do and has done throughout history. Nazi,Germany,Bolshevik,Russia,China,North Korea,Cuba,the fanatical,religious extremists in Iran, even Saudi Arabia have enslaved their citizens and it starts with taking their means to defend themselves,their families,their property,their country from those who would take them using dictate and force now unopposed!

    The second Amendment was written,the second law written with tyranny,dictate,Freedom in mind!We are now what America millions of “legal” immigrants risked everything to leave behind!

    There is always a crisis to be met and there is always an ideologue,a tyrant,a scared,angry,confused people to take over!

    It’s not easy and hiding your head in the sand is easier than defending the God given “Right” given to all of us to defend ourselves if/when the next crisis comes!

    “live free or die”

  • grandpa smokey

    As I have always told my children, “Doing the right thing is not always the easiest option at first, but it is always the easiest choice to defend.” Those companies, and Magpul in particular, are doing the right thing; even if it is not the easiest thing (what a major task it would be to move an entire business to another state).
    ***My question to G & A is, why did you open this story with a picture of an S & W product if they are NOT standing up for us? You make them look like they are fighting for us when they appear to be standing on the sidelines. As Mr. Lerberg pointed out, we need the major companies to take a stand.
    I always try to purchase my shooting supplies from my local family gun store (shout out to Bullet Barn in Montclair, CA!) and I will try to support those companies that support my rights. I feel bad now that my Magpul BUIS are on an S & W receiver.

    • Bill Lester

      S&W’s lawyers are a lot smarter than G&A blog posters. I’m sure they’ve told the executives that as a publicly-traded company, any effort that purposely reduces profits will open them to lawsuits from their shareholders. And I’m equally certain S&W’s legal team has made it clear that any such effort joined with other major gun makers invites prosecution under anti-trust and RICO statutes. The Feds frown upon collusion among businesses. Do you think this Administration would hesitate one second in taking advantage of such positions by gun manufacturers?

      • grandpa smokey

        I agree that S&W’s lawyers are probably a smart bunch; smarter than those who reply to G&A blog posts by NOT answering the question posed. I asked why G&A used a picture of an S&W product. Your reply assumes I am asking why S&W does not stand up for us. I am all for capitalism. I understand the risks of pissing off a paying customer with large contracts. You pose two interesting points: 1. Would share holders of S&W (gun owners I’m sure) file suit if the company came out publicly in support of their individual rights? My opinion is probably not. 2. Would this administration file suit under anti-trust and RICO statutes? I believe they would hesitate, but might file suit anyway. However proving that there was collusion among the companies, as opposed to coincidental responses to public pressure (especially given the overwhelming evidence from bloggers in support of companies taking such actions) would be very difficult.

        • Bill Lester

          You overestimate the power of bloggers vs. shareholders holding millions in stock. Or the desire and willingness of this Administration to destroy everything pertaining to gun ownership.

    • dan

      S&W stood on the sidelines during the Clinton campaign as well and was one of the first to stick their nose in Billys butt to stay on his good side. I will never own so much as a S&W knife.

  • Past_Pawn

    Colorado, where pot is legal with a doctor’s note for some minor or fictitious aliment but unlawful to have high capacity mags. Which do you suppose will cause the most future deaths? My bet would be some pot-head all buzzed-out and heading for his favorite pot dispensary as fast as his vehicle will allow.

    … and kudos to those gun manufactures. May I suggest not selling to Uncle Sam also if its illegal to sell to civilians.

    • Daniel Francis

      Do you have a license to practice medicine?

  • BJC

    It’s time for everyone to rise up and make their voices heard in protest of the tyrannical politicians who are trashing the constitution for their own agenda’s. Contact your representatives, state and federal and voice your opposition to anti gun agendas. And contact the other manufacturers who have not stepped up and posted threats to any states or politicians supporting any new gun control law’s.

  • Duane Shelton

    The people of this nation should also boycott those companies that choose to sit back and let this administration take away our 2nd amendment rights. If these major manufactures can not or will not stand up to these politicians, then we should boycott their products.

    • Bill Lester

      You apparently don’t realize the legal ramifications of publicly-traded companies who fail to do everything they can to maximize shareholders’ profits. Those very same shareholders can and will win lawsuits filed against a gun maker that purposely limits market share.

      Or how about existing contracts with LE agencies in anti-gun states? You know, legally binding agreements. Do you hate the major manufacturers so much as to want them bankrupted by civil lawsuits?

      But go ahead, cut your nose off to spite your face.

      • grandpa smokey

        Again, the point was not addressed. Mr. Shelton posits that we as a capitalist society should use our purchasing power to support companies that support us (quid pro quo). Diversity is the richness that makes for successful capitalistic competition. When all of the choices are contained within only a handful of suppliers, there is no competition. If a civil lawsuit destroys a company, others will fill that void. As they compete for our dollars, prices are made competitive and products are enriched.

        • Bill Lester

          That’s right, eat our own. Defeat is only a matter of time with thinking like this.

          • Danny Morris

            That’s right. So lets all just go along with whatever the general populous wants, that’s a much better approach. Maybe not, doing the right thing is not always easy.

          • JudyRobertsHirtle

            So what should we do then? Support a company that doesn’t support their customers? The customers are the ones who give companies money to pay their shareholders. No customers, no money.

      • Danny Morris

        When people stop buying their products because they would not stand up for our rights I would think that would also eat into their profits. So maybe if they stay put they could be setting themselves up more than moving.

      • JiminGA

        Bill, you are so “modern” when espousing your moral relativism. You’re probably too young to remember when American companies actually sought success in efforts to make a better life for their management and employees. Actually, many of them still exist, much to your surprise. You subscribe to the meme “profit uber alles” is the theme of all “souless evil corporations” that’s been sold to the public. Further, you don’t know much about contract law either.

  • HR1111654

    Look up Dick act of 1902. Or Bill H.R. 11654 signed into law, 28 June, 1902. Backs up Constitution & Bill Of Rights. NOT PRIVALAGES.

  • Big AL

    I would hate to say this , But look out 1776 for a Second Time !

  • Big AL

    If The So called States want to put there Economic Growth in Harms Way , Come on I am Living In the Great State of TX >

  • Bill Lester

    People need to keep something in mind when it comes to Ronnie Barrett. He gained a tremendous amount of “street cred” among 2A defenders when he told California and others to hit the bricks. But it was a pretty easy call. Just how many of his rifles were ever purchased by anti-gun states or municipalities? Probably not many. But how about the much larger orders from the Federal government? You know, the same folks who brought us Fast and Furious, the 1994-2004 AWB, the Branch Davidian debacle and the current list of anti-freedom legislation pending in Congress. And let’s not forget the export of Barrett firearms is heavily controlled by the State Department. All of this, but Barrett weapons are still sold to Uncle Sam. Why does this gun maker get a pass but others with far more to lose get castigated at every turn?

  • James Raymond

    I have lived on this earth for 73 years, I’ve hunted all over the country with never a restriction of any kind, as a boy I belonged to school rifle clubs, my father took me to the town dump to shoot rats, in those days no one thought to object, no one thought you were a lunatic. Today, just to mention that you own a gun sends people into a state of lunacy, they ask are you thinking of killing someone, then why do you own a gun, guns are meant to kill. They cannot or will not allow themselves to understand the thrill of hunting, or shooting trap or skeet, or target shooting they only see tragic things coming from owning a gun. I just hope our time has not passed.

  • bigdawgp

    I live in NY and just want to be able to protect my family in a desperate situation. If 3 or 4 armed men break into my home, I may possibly need more than 7 rounds to do that. Yes Mr. Cuomo…I said I might need more than 7 rounds! Why should I be forced to reload while the criminals can just keep coming? I am pretty sure the criminals prowling our neighborhoods didn’t walk to the nearest police station and turn in their illegal guns. I don’t understand how these libs think this is the way to curb gun violence! By taking away the rights of the people who are actually willing to abide by the law? Ridiculous! Not long before the blue helmets show up and start taking them away I bet…Well, I say this…one bullet at a time my friends….

  • knighttemplar01

    This is why I buy American, any firearms owner should realize as these companies do, if the state or federal governments pass very restrictive legislation, eventually all of these manufacturers will disappear, which would only bring joy to progressive liberals and their marxist politicians.

  • tiko

    Everybody had better start pushing friends and neighbors to register to vote and actually push these people out of office. Obama is spending his time on the political trail building up to the midterm elections (ALREADY). We are finished if the Democrats control both the House and the Senate. ALL of our guns will be gone. The NRA is offering lifetime memberships for $300 which is a real bargain. Cash must be spent to get them shoved out the door. The alternative is dismal for gun owners and working families alike. PUSH for everybody that you know to show the incompetent and irresponsible politicians that we mean business. Back those businesses up that back us up. Pa. lost over 1/2 million in rent for their farm show complex after the promoter backed up politicians by refusing to allow AR15’s and magazines at the Eastern Outdoor Show. The loss in spinoff jobs was extensive. Time to roll over or push back. Thank you to all who sacrificed earnings to support our right to bear arms.

  • Bubbub

    Any lawsuits filed by shareholders against firearms manufacturers would most likely be dismissed. The board of directors has a great amount of leeway to make decisions, even sacrificing short term profits, that the board believes are in the best long term interest of the company. When a government takes actions to outlaw the sale of that manufacturer’s product, the board could very reasonably justify leveraging its ability to move or cancel government contracts for the purpose of turning public opinion back in favor of keeping those products legal.

  • Lance Collo

    The big companies need to get onboard! Smith and Wesson FOLDED last time. Glock and other major suppliers need to step up and fight. Everyone should support only the companies that are willing to protect our rights not just the bottom line.

  • Randolph A McInerney

    The Big 4 Ammo producers need to CANCEL Obama and DHS’s gigantic government order for small arms hollow point and jacketed rounds as well. Break their contract or simply stop and sell the ammo to “We The People ” who are waiting for a break in this bullet draught. Walmart is already hurting over Boycott of their stores for “sitting on ammo” in their warehouses and not sending any to stores until Obama and the congress decide something on gun control. Walmart’s bottom line was already smarting from high gas prices taking people’s spending money, and said so in thieir quarterly report. Now many of the 100 million gun owners are boycotting or partially boycotting Walmart.

    Some people think Walmart is too big to be hurt…not so..Yes they are a multi-Billion $$$ company but they have almost as much $ going out as they do coming in. It does take much to tip the scales in the wrong direction. Boycotts can hurt any businees no matter how big they are.
    We are not buying nearly as much as we were there…we have found lower prices elsewhere.
    Many folks are sitting on their pocket books waiting for Walmart to restock ammo at all their stores.

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