(This story was updated at 10:54 to indicate the location of Satern Machining)
The Sioux City area is part of a tri-state effort to lure gun makers to move their operations to the midwest. Sioux City Chamber of Commerce president, Debi Durham, says work with gun barrel manufacturer Satern Custom Machining of Estherville at trade shows help them expand their contacts in the industry.
Durham says while they were at the trade shows, Chris McGowan their representative on the issue, found that there is a "great deal of discontent" around the country as various state legislatures create laws that gunmakers feel are hostile to the industry. Durham says the economic development arm of the chamber known as "The Siouxland Initiative" started courting the interest of the gun companies.
She says they’ve created some relationships with some of the companies that are looking to re-locate. Durham says they now need to locate a park for the companies as they like to be housed together. Durham says the presence of the Iowa National Guard’s 185th air refueling wing in Sioux City offers a potential pool of employees for the firearms makers.
Durham says the guard has a part-time labor force looking for jobs, and a group that has security clearances that are not easy to get but needed by the gun industry. "So there seems to be, there are some natural synergies around this,"Durham says. She says the discussions are "very preliminary."
Durham says the gun companies could bring from 10 to 50 employees, depending on the type of manufacturing they do. Durham says South Dakota has been active in seeking gun manufacturers, and says it seems like a good fit for midwestern states.
Durham says families in the midwest grow up around guns, as people hunt, and there’s not a fear of guns that you find in other places in the country. Durham says the process is like anything else, they put forward the best presentation they can to the companies, and then wait to see what happens.