Second gun maker eyeing Horry County

Another Connecticut gun manufacturer is scouting out the Grand Strand, after one firearms maker has already announced it will relocate to Horry County.

This week, the president of Stag Arms Incorporated flew into Myrtle Beach this week for a series of meetings and tours.

The New Britain, Connecticut-based maker of AR 15 semi-automatic rifles would be the county's second big gun industry target, after PTR Industries announced earlier this week it will bring nearly 150 jobs to the Cool Springs Business Park.

Stag Arms president Mark Malkowski toured several Horry County sites Thursday, including the Atlantic Business Park in Conway.

He says he liked what he saw.

"I got a chance to see a lot. I got a lot of information and the areas that were all shown all meet the types of needs that we have," Malkowski said.

But Stag Arms has also been openly courted by Texas Governor Rick Perry, who has his own incentives package.

St. Rep. Alan Clemmons of Myrtle Beach, who was instrumental in attracting PTR, says this is the gun industry Super Bowl.

"It speaks very highly to our competitiveness in South Carolina to be able to be on par with an opportunity for them in Texas."

Clemmons says landing a second firearms manufacturer for Horry County would be "potentially historic".

He says the county would suddenly be near the top of the list for every gun maker or supplier that's looking to move or expand.

"You can look at a multiplier of 8 to 10 for every gun manufacturer job, so when you talk about 200 jobs, you're really talking about as many as 2000 jobs," Clemmons said.

Malkowski says his company is still in the early stages of determining what they will do, but they will do something soon.

"The job number would be well over a hundred that we'd be anticipating and a decision would probably be made within a couple of months."

Connecticut recently passed a strict gun control law and Malkowski says it's hard to expand in an area that doesn't support his industry.

He says it's been a real change to be in an area that's so welcoming.