Gunmaker celebrates move to SC with commemorative gun

(Myrtle Beach) Sun-NewsJune 23, 2014 

Firearms manufacturer PTR Industries is so pleased with its move to Aynor that it is producing a special gun to show its appreciation.

The company will produce 1,000 South Carolina commemorative firearms, each stamped with an outline of the state with a Palmetto tree and crescent moon inside it.

PTR vice president John McNamara said the company developed the gun as a way to give something back to South Carolina.

The company moved its headquarters and operation to Aynor in January with no hassles. McNamara said state and local officials helped in any way they could, such as with zoning.

“All the red tape involved was handled efficiently,” he said.

S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley will receive one of the special edition firearms at a ceremony at the plant on Monday. The special gun costs $1,200 and may be purchased at several area gun stores.

PTR CEO Josh Fiorini decided to move the company from Connecticut after a law was passed that would ban legal ownership in the state of firearms such as those PTR makes. The legislature took the action banning assault weapons following the shooting deaths of 20 elementary school children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School, the deadliest K-12 shooting in U.S. history.

“I think PTR is looking at this special edition as a way to sell more guns and to give back to the state of South Carolina,” said Brad Lofton, CEO of the Myrtle Beach Regional Economic Development Corp.

PTR’s commemorative gun, a PTR-91, is the company’s first nickle-tone firearm with a welded scope mount. As with all the company’s guns, it is stamped with “Aynor, S.C.” and, along the barrel, the words “We the people shall not be infringed.”

Lofton said he thinks it’s “cool” that all the company’s firearms are stamped with Aynor.

The special edition firearm isn’t the only thing the company has done to help the state and Horry County.

It was key in helping another Connecticut company decide that Horry County will be the place for its first expansion when that time comes.

The decision to expand will be based on developing customers for a new facility, said Steven Meyer, president of CED Services, which does consulting and machine work for the aerospace and firearms industries.

PTR is one of the customers of the $13 million-a-year company, Meyer said. He and Fiorini have been friends for years.

Meyer said he has also looked in Charleston and the Raleigh/Durham area of North Carolina, but likes Myrtle Beach the best.

Lofton said PTR also introduced area officials to other gun manufacturers at last year’s Shot Show in Las Vegas.

Without an insider to help them, he said, connections at the show could have been hit-and-miss.

McNamara said that, personally, he was surprised at how easy it has been getting settled in Horry County.

“I think it’s a lifestyle and culture we all embraced,” he said of himself and the 26 employees who transferred south when the company moved. Just one, a 19-year-old, has returned to Connecticut.

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