Conn. firearms manufacturer coming to Horry County

Connecticut firearms manufacturer PTR Industries will announce Monday that it has decided to move its operation to Horry County.

The gun manufacturer is moving to South Carolina after Connecticut state lawmakers passed stricter gun control laws after the Sandy Hook School shootings.

PTR said it had been contacted by 41 states and selected South Carolina from six finalists.

PTR Industries will make the formal announcement at a 2:30 p.m. ribbon-cutting to be attended by Gov. Nikki Haley, The (Myrtle Beach) Sun News reported.

Brad Lofton, CEO of the Myrtle Beach Regional Economic Development Corp. said PTR has agreed to the terms in a resolution, which provides for the company to lease a building that will eventually be deeded to it by the county.

The company was identified as Project Phaser in the resolution, but Brad Lofton, CEO of the Myrtle Beach Regional Economic Development Corp. said previously that Phaser was the name given to PTR Industries.

Josh Fiorini, PTR’s CEO, told The Sun News the company will have 140 employees, many of whom will relocate in the move, which he said will happen over three years.

He said the average wage of the company is about $22 an hour, but that includes management personnel, all of whom are expected to move south. Some of the shop workers are highly skilled and well-paid, although Fiorini said that those hired locally would likely be paid less as they learn the skills to make the firearms.

PTR Industries is one of two Connecticut firearms manufacturers that have said they are being courted by Horry County. The other, Stag Arms, said it is interested in the area, according to Mark Malkowski, Stage Arms CEO.

Malkowski said he planned a visit to Horry County. He said he is familiar with the Grand Strand because he comes here to play golf when he visits a customer in Columbia.

Fiorini said that it would be advantageous for firearms manufacturers to be located in the same area as they may share suppliers.

Lofton said the council’s action Tuesday was important to the company because it wants to know that it has political support where it is moving.

The move was precipitated by the restrictive gun laws passed by the state of Connecticut in the wake of the Sandy Hooks shooting, in which 26 people, 20 children and six adults, were killed when a gunman entered the school December 14 with an assault weapon.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.