NEW BRITAIN, Conn. (WTNH)– Fourteen months have passed since Connecticut’s new gun laws went into effect in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook tragedy. While the smaller ‘PTR’ firearms of Bristol moved their entire operation with about sixty employees to South Carolina, the much larger ‘Stag Arms’ continues to operate in New Britain.
The rush of orders for the popular A-R-15 rifle early last year is long over.
The rush was caused by people trying to beat the deadline in April when the rifle became illegal in Connecticut but if you had purchased one before the Governor signed the new law you could keep it if you registered it.
Connecticut is among six states that have some kind of ban in effect.
Mark Malkowski of Stag Arms says, “business has really slowed down but what we’re doing is coming up with other versions or other configurations (of the A-R-15) to try to keep as many jobs in Connecticut as we can.”
But unfortunately there are fewer people working in the four building complex there.
14 months ago there were about 200.
“After the law was passed, unfortunately, it did nothing to make the state safer and in fact it hurt jobs in the state of Connecticut so unfortunately now we’re down to about 150 employees,” Malkowski said.
For Malkowski that was very hard because he says it was the first time he had to layoff employees in the eleven years he has run ‘Stag Arms.’
As for the years ahead…
and if his company does see any growth again what will he do?
“Any future expansion we do for business we will look to other states,” he said, adding, “just because of how difficult it is to operate in the state of Connecticut but for right now we’re going to be operating here.”
He says that he has lost some regular customers, as several smaller gun shops have closed around the state and some out of state customers are unhappy that he continues to operate here.
He says, “they would rather see us in a different place.”
‘Stag Arms’ has already made one modified version of the ‘A-R-15’ that complies with the new Connecticut law. Malkowski says they are working on another.