The State Senate has given its final approval to a measure to attract high-paying manufacturing jobs to the state. Sen. Jay Paul Gumm is principal author of Senate Joint Resolution 54, which is aimed at bringing firearm manufacturing to Oklahoma.
“There are parts of the country that are hostile to gun manufacturing. What we want to do is get the word out that we welcome these jobs. Oklahoma has a great western heritage and a college that has a top-notch gunsmith program. We want these companies to know we’d be a perfect fit,” said Gumm.
The Democrat from Durant pointed out that the industry has recently had to defend itself from gun-control groups and trial lawyers.
“This is a multi-billion dollar industry. But those high-dollar manufacturing jobs are in states where those companies aren’t even wanted. There are 75 major firearm manufacturers with facilities in 12 states. I think if we get the word out about what we have to offer in terms of education programs and economic development incentives, we could bring some of those jobs here,” said Gumm.
Gumm’s co author in the House is Rep. Paul Roan, D-Tishomingo. The lawmakers both represent Johnston County, where Murray State College is located.
“We have an excellent gunsmith curriculum at Murray,” said Roan. “We’d be able to provide a highly-trained work-force for an industry that Oklahomans would appreciate having here. This is something we really needed to pursue.”
The resolution calls for the Commerce Department to collaborate with Murray State College to develop strategies to attract firearms manufacturers to the state.
“Attracting these businesses here would not only create jobs in firearm manufacturing, but it would also boost economic development through the domino effect new companies have when they locate here. This ultimately will benefit our entire state,” Gumm said.
SJR 54 now goes to Gov. Brad Henry for his consideration.