NEW BRITAIN — Gun manufacturer Stag Arms announced on Friday that it is leaving New Britain.
The company, which manufactures AR-15-style rifles, said it will relocate somewhere that offers “significant support for the firearms industry.”
Following the 2012 Sandy Hook tragedy, former Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy banned the sale of military style guns and high-capacity ammunition magazines, which Stag Arms opposed.
According to statements released by Mayor Erin Stewart’s office and Stag Arms, the location of Stag’s new headquarters has not been finalized. The decision to relocate was made by the company’s board of directors.
Stag Arms President, Anthony Ash, stated: “Not since the founding of our company in 2003 have there been so many great things happening at once. We began our journey with a commitment to bring customers innovative products with uncompromising quality through 100% American made components.”
The board expects to finalize the location of the headquarters in the next few months and the company will then begin the process of relocating sales and remaining back office functions to the new headquarters location. Stag Arms employs about 200 people.
Stewart released a statement saying that Stag Arms’ decision to relocate “comes as no surprise to us. We have known for many years that Stag has been courted by other states following the passage of more stringent gun laws here in Connecticut. Quite frankly, I’m surprised it took this long. While we are never happy to lose a business, the industrial park where it is located is 90 percent full and I am hopeful that it will be filled with another tenant within six months.”
Stag Arms was founded by Mark Malkowski but under his leadership, the company faced federal firearms charges and the sale of the company was forced after a December 2015 plea agreement.
On the heels of a 2014 ATF investigation, Malkowski pleaded guilty in December 2015 to violating federal firearms laws after an investigation revealed that the company possessed receivers — the part containing the firing mechanism — without serial numbers and that the manufacturer had gun sales that weren’t properly recorded. The company, through Malkowski, pleaded guilty to a felony charge of possession of a machine gun not registered to the company and was ordered to pay a $500,000 fine. Malkowski also pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of failing to maintain proper firearms records, was ordered to sell Stag Arms, to never again hold an ownership or management position within a firearms business and pay a $100,000 fine.
In early 2016, Stag Arms was acquired by White Wolf Capital Partners LLC. Ash became the president of the company in 2016.
When contacted by The Herald, an employee who answered the phone at the John Downey Drive business refused comment.
Reports from the Associated Press were included in this article.