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Sturm, Ruger opening N.C. plant

RALEIGH, N.C. — Sturm, Ruger & Co. said Tuesday that it aims to keep up with demand for its guns by opening a new factory in the small North Carolina community already home to America’s largest firearms maker.

Southport, Conn.-based Sturm, Ruger says it will open a new factory in Mayodan to meet firearm demand that has risen since Congress and some states sought to toughen gun controls. The community is already headquarters to Freedom Group, which owns Bushmaster, Remington, and other firearms brands.

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The plant is expected to employ more than 470 workers in Rockingham County, where the unemployment rate is 10.3 percent. Sturm, Ruger could receive nearly $13 million in state tax breaks, employee training, infrastructure construction, and other incentives, a state Commerce Department spokesman said. Local governments are expected to contribute more sweeteners next month.

Sturm, Ruger makes semi-automatic, magazine-fed rifles as well as traditional hunting rifles and pistols. It said last month that it wanted to open its third factory in a former Unifi Inc. textile plant in Mayodan, the company’s first major expansion in more than 25 years.

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Connecticut’s firearms industry has been embattled since 20 first-graders and six educators were killed in the Dec. 14 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown. The state then adopted a package of gun control measures that are considered among the strictest in the nation. They include an expanded assault weapons ban, additional background checks on gun purchases and ammunition purchases, and a ban on large-capacity ammunition magazines.

Sturm, Ruger said last month that second-quarter profit soared 79 percent on higher sales on strong demand for guns.

In June, Connecticut gun manufacturer PTR Industries said it is moving to South Carolina after Connecticut state lawmakers passed stricter gun control laws. The company’s plant near Myrtle Beach will employ 140 people, many of whom will relocate from Connecticut over three years.

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