Radio Column

Asa Arkansas's Governor

Daisy Growing in Arkansas

01/20/2017

Column Transcript

Earlier this week, I attended the 2017 Shooting Hunting and Outdoor Show, known as the SHOT Show, where I had the privilege of announcing more jobs are coming to Arkansas. I joined officials from Daisy Outdoor Products and their parent company, Gamo Outdoors USA, to announce Daisy is expanding in Rogers, where the company is headquartered and manufactures airguns. In addition, Gamo Outdoors announced plans to relocate their corporate headquarters to Rogers. Through this growth, approximately 30 new jobs will be created at the Daisy/Gamo Outdoors facility.

The SHOT Show has been good to Arkansas. I was the first Arkansas governor to attend the show as we realized this is a wonderful opportunity to speak directly to leaders in the firearms and ammunition industry. I talk about the many reasons Arkansas is a great fit for business. A central location, a workforce with knowledge and experience in firearms manufacturing and our support of the Second Amendment make Arkansas a perfect location for any firearms or ammunition company considering expanding or relocating.

It was these factors that made two job creation announcements possible at last year’s SHOT Show. At the 2016 show, we announced SIG Sauer would locate a new ammunition manufacturing facility in Jacksonville and also announced Remington’s plans to expand their existing facility in Lonoke.

Together, these announcements mean more than 130 new, good-paying jobs for Arkansans. SIG Sauer has now completed all renovations on their new manufacturing facility in Jacksonville and production is scheduled to begin soon. In fact, the company recently held a hiring event and then extended employment offers to more than 50 applicants for what will be their first shift. SIG Sauer’s leadership reported they were very impressed with the quality and experience of our workforce.

While world-class firearms brands such as SIG Sauer continue to locate new facilities in the state, Daisy has been manufacturing products in Arkansas since 1958, when they moved all operations to Rogers. Daisy is a name not just familiar to Arkansans. The company, which is celebrating 130 years in the airgun business, has had well-respected airguns in the youth and young adult categories for decades, and it’s no wonder why Ralphie dreamed of owning one in the classic movie, “A Christmas Story.”

Another example of a growing Arkansas-based gun company is Wilson Combat in Berryville. A producer of high-end custom firearms, ammunition, and accessories, gun enthusiasts travel from around the world to tour their Berryville manufacturing facility, where more than 150 people are employed with continued plans for growth.

National media is taking notice of our growth in the firearms and ammunition sector. Forbes magazine named Arkansas among the most gun-friendly states. We have the second-highest rates of gun ownership among all states with 42 firearms for every thousand residents. As an avid duck hunter myself, I can certainly understand why Ducks Unlimited ranked eastern Arkansas as one of the “Greatest Places to Hunt Waterfowl.”

The economic impact of the industry on our state is undeniable. The National Shooting Sports Foundation reported 2,600 Arkansans were directly employed by firearms manufacturers and another 1,300 Arkansans were employed indirectly. The industry accounted for more than $145 million in direct wages in Arkansas annually along with an overall output of more than $700 million.

While other states are regulating gun manufacturers away, Arkansas is here with open arms. By reaching out to our nation’s gun and ammunition related businesses, we have an unprecedented opportunity to grow and diversify our economy. That is why I was proud to represent Arkansas at the SHOT Show last week.