Thursday, April 4, 2013

Indiana's Wooing of Firearms Manufacturers Doesn't Feel Right

Gun manufacturers are looking for new homes after states like Colorado increased gun restrictions, and they may find a hospitable environment in Indiana.

It should surprise no one that the Republican-dominated Indiana General Assembly has passed resolutions in both houses that encourage gun makers to relocate here in the Hoosier State.  From an economic standpoint, it's sound policy that, if successful, would provide jobs for Hoosiers.  This would be nothing different than Governor Mitch Daniels' initiative to woo motorsports development to the Hoosier State.  That initiative felt right.  This just feels wrong.

Now, before you go off and call me a bleeding heart liberal, I understand that the vast majority of gun makers in this country produce their products for law-abiding citizens.  I am not quibbling with any of your Second Amendment rights when I say that you should have a right to own firearms in your home to collect them or use them for defense or hunting or whatever lawful use you wish to use them for.  I get that, and I support that.  There's nothing inherently wrong with gun making nor the state's pursuit of gun makers to locate here.

For me, though, it just feels dirty...the kind of ground in dirty that even the most intense shower won't remove.

If you go back a year ago, we were in the midst of this gun control debate, but the heat wasn't as high then.  The massacres in Newtown and in Aurora had not occurred yet.  There wasn't as much impetus by state legislatures to tighten gun laws.

While other states tighten up gun laws, Indiana continues to loosen them.  Long regarded as one of the more gun-friendly states in the union, Indiana's climate seems to get more and more friendly to guns with every General Assembly session.

For gun makers, they are looking at the climate in the states they are in and are trying to determine if their business model matches the state climate for guns.  In a few cases, it just doesn't agree.  That business decision is theirs to make.

Still, the fact is that likely the main reason these companies are leaving those states is because those states chose to make it more difficult for the wrong kind of person to get hold of weapon with the capability of creating the kinds of massacres have seen over the last year.  It should come as no surprise that both Connecticut and Colorado as well as some of their neighboring states have taken action and passed some new and more restrictive gun laws.

Now, I know opponents of tightening restrictions on firearms will say that there are enough unenforced laws on the books to take care of our problems.  They will also say that more guns and not less guns are the answer to the issues we face.  They may even point out that the reason that Indiana hasn't seen some of the horrible mass shooting tragedies that have occurred in other states is that we have more guns than those other places.  I am not going to enter into that argument.  I continue to maintain that more guns are not the answer.  The answers aren't just as simple as adding more guns or more guards.

As I see it, what's wrong with this goes right back to the original reason these companies want to move.  The reason goes back to why this new rash of legislation was passed.  The mass shootings touched all of this shuffling off.  Thus, isn't Indiana competing for the business of companies whose business models and products do little to help reduce the chances of another mass shooting?

Yeah, it feels wrong to me.


Unigov said...


1) Making guns is less violent than other things made in Indiana. Raytheon on 21st Street makes guidance systems for drones and missiles.

2) The new law in Connecticut wouldn't have done a thing to prevent the Newtown killings. The Newtown killer's confessed intent was to "rack up kills"; that's why he went after children, because they're the easiest to kill. (Maternity wards have much tighter security.)

3) Federal gun laws are already absurdly restrictive - someone dishonorably discharged from the military cannot buy a gun.

4) The resolution at the statehouse is just that - Indiana isn't offering the kind of tax breaks that the state lavishes on motor sports, big pharma, pro sports.

Jon Easter said...

1) Not really my point.
2) Never said there was a one to one relationship only that the new laws were passed in response.
3) OK
4) Senator Mike Young has said that Indiana is actively pursuing these companies as in...ACTIVELY.

Brian said...

And here I thought the legislature was opposed to the idea of "picking winners and losers".

Anonymous said...

Still, the fact is that likely the main reason these companies are leaving those states is because those states chose to make it more difficult for the wrong kind of person to get hold of weapon with the capability of creating the kinds of massacres have seen over the last year.

This is what some claim, and for some lawmakers, the above could be true. For others though, it is about the small steps towards total disarmament. I get the physics behind semi-auto weapons combined with the ability to fire many rounds without reloading. However, when states pass these laws, they are essentially doing nothing but making criminals out of former law-abiding people.

These are feel good measures for some, which only serve to allow the state to pile on additional criminal charges which in and of itself is a joke. However, these elected officials did what they did, with many of them totally ignoring the physics of things. There are millions of pre-ban, high capacity magazines in circulation in this country. Only NY went all out and actually banned magazines that hold over ten bullets. The rest of these states are just pretending they are doing something.

So they made their move. Why would any company whose business is affected by the state not move? In some states, it could be outright illegal to continue to manufacture a certain product. In others, exemptions were written into the law, but as a business owner, why stay in such an environment if your product is still leave and available for purchase by millions of others? And since most business owners will likely want to leave under such repression, Indiana and many other states should be trying to lure such businesses.

For starters, it is clearly a jobs creator, though technically if every employee moved, there would be no new jobs for Indiana residents. Second, I don't think it will take many more mass killings before we see something more strict come down the road at the federal level. I predict a ban on the future production and sale of semi-auto, detachable magazine feed rifles, as well as a future ban on the production and sale of magazines which hold more than ten rounds.

So, why not grab these businesses while we can? If the eventuality is that Bushmaster, Colt, etc. redesign the AR-15 to be a top feed semi-auto rifle, with a fixed ten round magazine, I saw we should try to get those companies here now, because once the laws are national, there would be no reason for them to leave NY, CO, CT, etc..