Oklahoma Governor Touts
State’s Viability To Industry


Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt, right, during a tour of RISE Armament’s Broken Arrow, Okla.,
facility in 2020. In the opening months of the pandemic, RISE was a beneficiary of the state’s
Manufacturing Reboot Program, which was created to assist Oklahoma manufacturers to
retool new product development or expand capabilities.

When faced with the right opportunity, companies involved in the firearms manufacturing space have demonstrated a willingness to relocate to a firearms-friendly state. In the past few years alone, the likes of Beretta, Weatherby, Stag Arms, Kimber and Lewis Machine & Tool have either relocated or expanded production to states with a favorable business climate for the industry.

Most recently, Smith & Wesson Brands Inc.’s decision to relocate its headquarters and assembly operations from Springfield, Mass., to Maryville, Tenn. — along with Remington Firearms’ commitment to locate its global headquarters and open a new manufacturing operation in LaGrange, Ga. — further bolsters the trend of companies leaving restrictive states for welcoming ones.

Step Forward, Oklahoma

In light of these recent moves, Oklahoma is actively touting its economic viability to get firearms manufacturers and related businesses to set their sights on the Sooner State.

According to Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt, “Oklahoma is open for business.” Stitt is using his experience as a business owner, gun owner and avid hunter to share why firearms industry businesses should consider relocating or expanding their businesses in his state.

Not a coincidence, the first bill Gov. Stitt signed as governor was a constitutional carry bill in 2019. Other bills have since been passed granting further protection to industry businesses.

“In Oklahoma, we think it’s pretty clear we have the right to own and bear arms,” he said. “One example, we’ve signed preemptive legislation to make sure no crazy county or city in the future in Oklahoma could restrict gun ownership in any way [the Second Amendment Sanctuary State Act, Senate Bill 631].”

Facing restrictions in the financial sector is a growing concern for industry businesses, and Gov. Stitt shared Oklahoma banks are ready to work with businesses in the firearms space.

“Our banking system in Oklahoma has open arms for the ammo and firearms manufacturers — banks are telling me they can’t wait to offer these businesses lines of credit. In contrast to other banks that are pulling back from this sector, we’re ready to press in,” he said.

Centrally located in the U.S., Oklahoma has ready-made distribution outlets like I-40 and I-35, as well as an inland port. Oklahoma’s electricity rates are among the lowest in the country, with the state ranking number one in 11 of the past 13 quarters, according to Gov. Stitt.

The Governor also highlighted a competitive advantage in Oklahoma’s workforce, highlighting technical programs like Murray State College’s two-year gunsmithing technology program, which started in 1979, as further benefits.

SHOT Show Presence

Gov. Stitt will be attending his first SHOT Show as governor later this month. He outlined the message he’s going to present in advance of the show.

“We’re serious about having these manufacturers relocate or expand, so the number-one focus for me is to develop personal relationships,” he said. “We’re going to be telling companies from a financial standpoint it’s the right move, but also from a social and environmental standpoint — they’re going to love Oklahoma and the people here. We want to come back with some wins and get Oklahoma on their radar.”

Stitt will also be one of nine governors participating in The Governors’ Forum during SHOT Show week alongside Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavey, Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, Idaho Gov. Brad Little, Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte, Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts, South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem and Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon.

The State of Oklahoma will be an exhibitor at the 2022 SHOT Show (Booth #43653), where senior leadership from the Oklahoma Department of Commerce will be ready to meet with industry companies.

For more info, visit: okcommerce.gov.