Economic Developers: Southeast may become 'Gun Valley' - - Columbia, South Carolina |

Economic Developers: Southeast may become 'Gun Valley'

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Ask Gov. Nikki Haley and she'll tell you the Palmetto State is becoming known as the "Beast of the Southeast" when it comes to manufacturing. But in 2013, gun manufacturers made their mark on the state, and there's no sign that's about to slow down.

Just ask Josh Fiorini who says new gun laws in his home state of Connecticut almost put him out of business.

"It just created a lot of uncertainty around the business of creating firearms, and really put our employees in a position where they're looking at criminal charges for doing their job," said Fiorini.

It wasn't long before 43 other states began vying for Hosh's business. In the end, the lure of the beach and the pro-gun political climate in South Carolina was too much for him to resist.

"When you do legislation that goes against a company like that, we've got two or three of them now because of that. Our goal is to stay out of the way of business," said Haley.

"South Carolina is very pro-business, and a very friendly Second Amendment state," said Sen. Lindsey Graham.

Josh's company, PTR, was the third gun manufacturer to relocate to South Carolina in 2013 and the industry's impact is creating opportunity and growth.

"That adds another 2,200 jobs to the state," said Steve Sanetti with the National Shooting Sports Foundation. "The total effect of the economy annually is approximately more than $270 million a year."

Economic leaders hope to capitalize on South Carolina's pro-gun policies, and perhaps gain a new reputation in the process.

"You just start to see the tip of the iceburg of what I hope is going to continue to look like maybe a Gun Valley for the Southeast," said Brad Lofton, CEO of the Myrtle Beach Economic Development Corporation.

With expansion on the horizon, Josh says it won't be long until more gun manufacturers follow him south.

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