Gun maker has sights set on moving to Horry County

More than 100 jobs will soon begin making the move from Connecticut to Horry County.

County Council approved a resolution at Tuesday's meeting setting the terms for establishing PTR Industries in the county.

Connecticut's legislature passed one of the nation's strictest gun control laws following last December's school shooting in Newtown that left 26 people dead.

In response, PTR and other Connecticut gun manufacturers publicly stated they no longer felt welcome in the state and announced plans to leave.

South Carolina St. Rep. Alan Clemmons of Myrtle Beach reached out to a few gun makers. Economic development officials say PTR accepted the invitation.

"This company, it's 145 new jobs, they're high-paying jobs, it's a high tech company, it's moving into a spec building. Everything good about economic development is encompassed in this project," said Myrtle Beach Regional Economic Development Corporation president Brad Lofton.

Lofton says Horry County has what gun manufacturers want, including a low cost of doing business, a loyal workforce and good schools.

The company will move into a county shell building in the Cool Springs Business Park that's been empty since it was completed a few years ago.

The Aynor/Cool Springs area has higher unemployment than most of the county.

Al Allen, who represents the district on county council, says the new jobs from PTR will be just what western Horry County needs.

"They'll be hands-on, trainable, highly-skilled and they will be above average pay for here," Allen said.

Lofton says another gun manufacturer, Stag Arms, has expressed an interest in Horry County and company officials will visit the Grand Strand in coming weeks.

"I think we've uncovered a niche here," Lofton said. "We could end up locating a number of Connecticut-based ammunition manufacturers and rifle manufacturers."

Clemmons says various players at the county and state level were involved in attracting PTR, including the governor's office and the County Council chairman Mark Lazarus.

"It's been a big team effort," Clemmons said.

He says other states, specifically Texas, courted PTR, but the company's decision to come to Horry County shows South Carolina can be a real player in economic development..

Gov. Nikki Haley, Rep. Tom Rice and Horry County leaders will attend a ribbon-cutting for PTR next Monday.