CHRISTINE MARTIN-GOLDSMITH: South Dakota welcomes gun industry


The firearms and ammunitions industry has been experiencing explosive growth and is considered a ‘hot’ industry for recruiting businesses to South Dakota.

The state has long been known for being a gun-friendly state and a place that welcomes, supports, and promotes firearms companies. South Dakota was the first state to pass the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms act and is recognized by the National Shooting Sports Foundation as creating an environment supportive to this industry.

This all bodes well for recruiting companies to the state. Over 50 firearms companies already call South Dakota home, many of which moved here from outside the state. Economic developers are now working with dozens of other companies to encourage them to also move or expand their operations to South Dakota.

Over 60,000 buyers and decision makers attended the industry’s premier conference – SHOT Show (Shooting, Hunting, Outdoors Trade Show), last week. While working at the booth with developers from other South Dakota communities, it was quickly evident that interest in South Dakota is strong. Companies based in California, Illinois, and New York are finding it harder and more complicated to run their business. Recruiting companies to move operations out of their home state can be a tough sell in any industry, yet South Dakota has distinct advantages with its gun-friendly reputation, low taxes, and quality of life that most people can only dream about.

Most manufacturers are turning to products and materials from low-cost overseas locations, such as China, to hold their profit margins steady. One of the most disturbing things these owners shared was that their customers aren’t even interested in higher-quality, American-made items if given a choice with a foreign, low-cost item. It’s hard to see displays of hundreds of innovative products that will never be produced on U.S. soil. I’m making a personal commitment to check labels and ask questions before buying anything with my American dollars.

Over 1,000 informational packets were handed out at this event and the state will be arranging hosting events in different communities to interested business owners. The leads from this show can be a great opportunity to showcase our community to companies that would see Mobridge as a great fit for their future needs.

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