House speaker invites gun makers to eye Arkansas


LITTLE ROCK — The state House speaker has made a couple of cold calls — or in this case sent letters — to try and sell gun makers on Arkansas.

In identical letters to the chief operating officers of Magpul Industries Corp. and Beretta U.S.A. Corp., House Speaker Davy Carter, R-Cabot, refers to recent comments he read about each company’s consideration of relocating to a state with more favorable legislation for firearms manufacturers.

Carter encourages the companies to consider Arkansas.

“Indeed, I am confident that you will find Arkansas to be a friend to your industry,” he wrote, pitching the state’s work force, abundance of natural resources and “a team committed to attracting and growing business in the state.”

Carter provides his cell phone number and invites company officials to call him directly if they have any interest in opening discussions. He offers to personally give company officials a tour of Arkansas and put them in contact Grant Tennille, director of the state Economic Development Commission.

Beretta, one of the world’s biggest gun makers, has threatened to move its Maryland manufacturing plant, along with more than 300 jobs, because of an assault-weapons ban under consideration by the Maryland General Assembly, the Washington Post reported recently.

Magpul, based in Erie, Colo., makes weapons components and high-capacity ammunition magazines. The company has threatened to leave Colorado if the state bans individuals from owning magazines with more than 15 rounds, according to the Denver Post.

The company has 200 workers. It paid Colorado suppliers $46 million last year and projects payments of $85 million this year.