Firearms and ammunition manufacturers are having problems finding enough workers to meet a growing product demand, as the heated debate over gun-control measures continues.
About 240,000 workers are employed nationally in the production of firearms and ammunition, but as demand rises, large and small manufacturers are expanding their operations to keep up, reports CNN
“Sturm, Ruger & Co., and Smith & Wesson have both added manufacturing capacity, which includes labor and shifts, in the past year,” Wedbush Securities analyst Rommel Dionisio told the cable news network.
Large gun makers such as these, along with Colt and Remington, are based in New England and upstate New York, where many people have lost their manufacturing jobs as factories have closed, said Dionisio.
But most of the new gun and ammo jobs are “temporary, contract-type hires” dependent on demand for weapons staying high, he said.
In addition to assembly-line workers, the companies also are in the market for highly skilled workers like engineers to ensure the current gun boon continues. Engineers with computer skills useful to creating new gun designs can reportedly earn $100,000 a year, CNN reported.
Jacob Herman, chief operating officer for Red Jacket Firearms in Baton Rouge, La., said his company has an 18-month-long backlog of orders, but has trouble finding machinists and other skilled labor.
“The firearms industry is fighting for the same employees as the exploding oil business, both here in the Gulf [of Mexico] and in the Dakotas,” said Herman.
Meanwhile, there is also money to be made when machinists go into business for themselves as gunsmiths.
Mark Raines, owner of Masters of Gun & Rod in Tallahassee, Fla., said orders are growing at his shop.
“The demand is so high that I’ve probably got 250 guns in here for repair at any given time,” said Raines. “You make a good living, [but] you don’t get rich. Because any time you work with your hands, you’re limited to how much you can turn out in a 24-hour period.”
Fears among gun-rights advocates about the possibility of new gun-control laws in the aftermath of the Newtown, Conn., school shootings in December have reportedly driven up sales recently of guns and ammunition.
But according to CNN, the new demand for firearms and ammunition started more than a year ago, creating the need for new workers in the industry.
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