The New York Times has a big spread profiling the booming firearms industry in the Flathead Valley of Montana. The article also notes that despite (or maybe because of) the heavy presence of firearms, “homicides with guns are relatively rare in the area.”
Here’s an excerpt:
In Kalispell, the seat of Flathead County, 250 people earn a living making guns or gun parts, a tenfold increase since 2005. That growth helped mitigate the effects of the recession, which was a body blow to construction, a major local employer. Another longtime industry, logging, has also withered.
Homicides with guns are relatively rare in the area. There have been three in Kalispell, a city of 20,000 people, out of six murders total in the past 12 years, said Roger Nasset, the local police chief. His officers are never surprised to find a gun inside a car they stop for a traffic violation — and seldom bother to discuss it, much less confiscate it. Montana’s laws on gun possession are among the least restrictive in the nation.
Butch Hurlbert, whose daughter and teenage granddaughter were murdered with a gun near Kalispell on Dec. 25, 2010, blames the killer — his daughter’s former boyfriend — and the police, not the gun. Having a gun, he said, “is pretty much just a normal thing.”
PREVIOUS POST ON FLATHEAD FIREARMS INDUSTRY
Payrolls Double in Flathead Firearms Industry
Earlier this year I featured the Flathead firearms industry on our statewide radio talk show, Voices of Montana, and as you can see- business is booming.
The Daily Inter Lake has this:
According to statistics from the Bureau of Business and Economic Research at the University of Montana, jobs in firearms manufacturing have more than doubled from the second quarter of 2011.
Firearms manufacturing jobs officially listed by the bureau were at 129 in 2009, dropped to 58 in the fourth quarter of 2010, but have rebounded considerably since then.
Total payroll jumped from $891,000 in 2011 to more than $2 million this year in the local gun industry.
Meanwhile, The Blaze asks, did Black Friday gun sales cripple the FBI background check system?
According to the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), gun sales — based on Black Friday background checks — set a new record, jumping by 20%. The surge in gun sales was so great that many retailers reported extended wait times in order to get applications processed by the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS).
On Sunday night, TheBlaze spoke with Robert Barnett, the owner of Larry’s Pistol & Pawn in Hunstville, AL and and confirmed that the background check process, which typically takes “2-3 minutes” was much longer on Friday.
“Most of the day (Friday), I had 8-9 employees on hold with NICS, listening to music and waiting to process their forms. And each employee was holding 4-5 applications. The wait times averaged 15-20 minutes per call, when we could get through.”