The number of gun manufacturers that seem to be located in anti-gun states has always amazed me. It boggles the mind, but since those states have gun folks too, it happens. After all, it’s not easy to move away from friends and family, especially when you have a business going. While moving the business may be an option, it’s not always an easy move.
But Weatherby is going to do it anyway.
Weatherby announced in January 2018 it is relocating manufacturing operations and its corporate headquarters from California to Sheridan, WY. The move is scheduled for completion sometime in 2019. Roy Weatherby founded the company in The Golden State in 1945, where it remained for more than seven decades.
“We wanted a place where we could retain a great workforce, and where our employees could live an outdoor lifestyle,” said Adam Weatherby, chief executive officer of the company and grandson of the founder. “We wanted to move to a state where we can grow into our brand. Wyoming means new opportunities. We are not interested in maintaining; we are growing.”
For more than a year, Wyoming Governor Matt Mead and the Wyoming Business Council—the state’s economic development agency—actively recruited Weatherby. The move will bring 70 to 90 jobs and more than $5 million in annual payroll to the area in the next five years.
“Wyoming is a great place to do business and is excited to welcome Weatherby to Sheridan,” Gov. Mead said. “For over 70 years, Weatherby has been an innovator in firearms design and manufacturing. The company will add to our manufacturing base and fit well with our diversification objectives.”
Weatherby isn’t saying they’re leaving because California is anti-gun, mind you, but I can’t help but wonder how much that played in the back of their mind during the decision.
After all, do you really want to try and operate in a state that seems dead set in trying to put you out of business?
While Weatherby firearms are generally the kind that even most anti-gunners claim they’re fine with you owning, we all know it’s only a matter of time before that changes. Weatherby’s current selection of hunting rifles will simply be relabeled “sniper rifles,” and their own heads will be on the chopping block.
What’s more, I suspect Weatherby knows this or at least acknowledges the possibility.
Again, though, we don’t know that such thinking played any factor in their decision. It could simply be exactly what they said. After all, they’re a hunting rifle brand, so their employees being able to enjoy hunting makes a lot of sense.
Either way, Montana will reap the benefits of the move as it provides a nice little boost to the local economy and an increased tax base, while California loses out.
Even if California’s anti-gun policies played no role in the relocation, it might start making some people wonder if it did, and that will be enough to give me a giggle. While Weatherby will be polite and diplomatic regardless, some are going to wonder and suspect that their state’s anti-gun crusade is driving out jobs.
And they should think about it because even if it’s not the reason this time, it will be.