Mississippi lawmakers aiming to make the state a mecca for production of firearms and firearms accessories notched their first success Friday with an announcement that startup TALON Ordnance will begin manufacturing an AR-15-style semi-automatic sporting rifle in Ridgeland.
TALON’s startup coincides with a huge upswing in demand for rifles in the AR-15 platform, whose design emulates the fully automatic assault-style rifle used by the military and law enforcement agencies. Nationwide, demand for the AR-15 has outstripped supply, causing many retail buyers to wait extended periods for delivery of the weapons.
TALON says it expects to produce the first of the tactical-style firearms by January. It expects to initially employ 10 people at its facility in the 220/Highland Colony Business Park at 106 Business Park Drive. A workforce of around 50 people is expected in the near future, according to co-founder & CEO Clay Baldwin, a Magee native and longtime Madison resident.
Baldwin said in a press statement TALON would produce premium, service-grade weapons with “100 percent made-in-the-U.S.A. parts.”
The plant will be the first production-scale weapons manufacturing facility to originate in the state, said Baldwin, an Army reservist with a background in law enforcement.
Promising to produce a rifle that is “superbly durable and consistently functional through even the harshest conditions,” Baldwin said TALON will market the weapon to the military, law enforcement and individuals.
TALON’s decision to begin production in Mississippi follows last spring’s open invitation from Mississippi Speaker of the House Philip Gunn to firearms-related companies to move to Mississippi. Some of the gun makers and accessory manufactures were feeling unwelcome in their home states, which were seeking to enact tougher gun restrictions following a series of mass shootings over the last year.
“I got some response from two or three,” Gunn said in a recent interview. “I plan to check into them this summer.”
The Clinton legislator said his law practice and the special legislative session on Medicaid diverted his recruitment efforts but he planned to resume them before the end of summer. Among his targets: Magpul, an internationally known maker of magazines, bullet clips and precision gun sights that has pledged to move out of Colorado, which in recent months had put limits on the sale of high-capacity magazines.
In fact, Magpul says it has already moved some of its manufacturing of gun sights out of Colorado but would not disclose where.
“We are actively moving forward with moving other items out,” the company said in a press statement.
Recent calls to Magpul were not returned.
Although Gov. Phil Bryant and Gunn attended the TALON announcement at the Capitol, no details were provided on whether the Ridgeland arms maker would receive state industrial development incentives.