As Louisiana’s legislators are pre-filing bills for this spring’s session, one enterprising House member or Senator with an interest in gun rights could strike a blow for both the right to keep and bear arms and maybe even economic development by emulating a piece of legislation which is beginning the journey to passage in Montana.
That would be HB 468, the Montana Ammunition Availability Act, which seeks to encourage the manufacture of smokeless gunpowder in that state.
There are only two domestic manufacturers of smokeless powder – General Dynamics, which operates a factory in St. Marks, Florida, and Alliant/ATK, which has a plant in Connecticut. Both of those companies are major defense contractors whose livelihoods are very dependent on the federal government’s purchasing decisions.
As such, their portion of the supply of powder for civilian use in ammunition could be cut off by a mere suggestion from the Defense Department.
Other than the market share General Dynamics and Alliant/ATK supply, the rest is imported. Imports are also in some danger of being cut off on any number of bases – trumped up or otherwise.
Gary Marbut, president of the Montana Shooting Sports Association, saw in this situation not just a threat to the right to keep and bear arms, but also an opportunity to create an industry in that state which does not currently exist, and therefore has begun advocating the passage of HB 468…
HB 468 is designed to encourage the production of smokeless powder, small arms primers, and cartridge brass in Montana.
Why is this encouragement needed? There are serious scale issues with the production of powder (and primers and brass, but especially powder). That’s why there are only two powder manufacturers in the U.S. today. All of the small countries of Eastern Europe manufacture their own smokeless powder, but that manufacture is heavily subsidized by the state as a matter of state security, subsidized to overcome the scale issues.
HB 468 is an attempt to mimic those subsidies. It includes liability protection for manufacturers, access to all existing economic development programs in Montana, and a 20-year tax amnesty for any such business that starts in Montana (not including local share of property tax – politically undoable). It is because of the tax amnesty that HB 468 will come before the House Taxation Committee.
We will speak of HB 468 primarily as a jobs bill – that it will hopefully create jobs in Montana, jobs we don’t have now and we hope HB 468 will stimulate.
HB 468 costs Montana nothing in terms of lost revenue, because there are no such businesses in Montana today (and I specifically did not include bullet or finished ammo manufacturers so I could pitch this to the Legislature as revenue-neutral).
My dream is to create a model (like our Shooting Range Protection Act and Montana Firearms Freedom Act did) that other states can clone to generate regional manufacture of powder, primers and brass across the U.S.
Considering that Amendment 2 to the Louisiana Constitution, which mandated that courts apply strict scrutiny to all future gun control laws and ordinances across the state, passed overwhelmingly in the legislature and passed with 73 percent of the vote in November’s elections, Louisiana has a pro-gun culture not different from that in Montana. And considering the all-out effort being made not just by the Jindal administration but also by the legislature and local governments to promote business growth amid sluggish economic conditions nationwide (and considering the positive results of that effort given a 5.5 percent unemployment rate), one would expect a bill like this to receive a nice reception as a job promotion scheme.
And of course it’s a bill that means nothing unless someone actually decides to invest money in opening a business manufacturing smokeless powder or the other components named in the legislation.
So if you’re a Louisiana legislator and you’d like to get a little attention for supporting the right to bear arms and maybe help land some manufacturing in your district, then feel free to copy this bill and present it in this spring’s session.
UPDATE: Speaking of jobs and the 2nd Amendment, somebody should get the word to Stephen Moret that he’s got a potential economic development win for the taking thanks to the stupidity of the gun-grabbing Democrats in Colorado…
Erie-based Magpul Industries has threatened to leave the state if lawmakers are successful in passing the sweeping gun-control package, which limits the number of rounds a magazine can hold, according to The Denver Post.
“If we’re able to stay in Colorado and manufacture a product, but law-abiding citizens of the state were unable to purchase the product, customers around the state and the nation would boycott us for remaining here,” Doug Smith, Magpul’s chief operating officer, told The Post.
The bill limits magazines to 15 rounds, with a more restrictive eight-round limit for shotguns. The bill makes an exception for magazines that people already have in their possession.
The legislation would require manufacturers to engrave magazines with serial numbers and dates — a requirement Smith believes is “burdensome and unnecessary,” The Post reported.
Magpul, which employs some 200 people directly and supports about 400 jobs through subcontractors, expects to contribute nearly $85 million to Colorado’s economy this year, according to The Post.
Testifying before a state House committee Tuesday, Smith said he feared the proposal would hurt his businesses and restrict future expansions and warned the state could lose millions in tax revenues.
Smith said an ammunition limit “will not improve public safety, will not reduce crime, and would endanger the lives of Colorado residents by unduly restricting their ability to defend themselves.” “Arguments to the contrary are based purely on emotion and not facts,” he added.
Although the bill has been amended to exempt manufacturers, Magpul still plans to leave the state if the measure banning high-capacity magazines passes.
“We can’t disappoint our customers nor ignore our convictions. Anyone who votes in favor of this bill votes to drive over 600 jobs out of [Colorado],” the company said in a post on its Facebook page Thursday.
Magpul is threatening free agency thanks to a package of gun-grabbing bills, including one which limits magazines to only 15 rounds, which all passed in the Democrat-controlled Colorado House earlier today. And it’s a decent bet that they’ll make it out of the Democrat-controlled Senate as well. Democrat governor John Hickenlooper isn’t going to veto any of them if they make it to his desk.
If Colorado’s idiot Democrats want to run legitimate businesses out of their state by making criminals out of honest citizens, then by all means Louisiana should do whatever it can to profit by their stupidity. Moret needs to call on Magpul first thing tomorrow.