ississippi’s top industry recruiter — Governor Tate Reeves — used his visit to the SHOT Show 2023 convention in Las Vegas in January to make the case that the state’s firearm and ammunition industry is on fire. The Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Trade Show is sponsored by the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) and is one of the largest trade shows in the U.S.
According to NSSF’s 2023 Firearm and Ammunition Industry Economic Impact Report, the sector employs more than 4,800 people in Mississippi and paid wages of more than $284 million last year. The total economic impact of the industry to the state in 2022 exceeded $1.1 billion.
While at the SHOT Show, Gov. Reeves was interviewed by NSSF’s Trevor Santos, director of government relations — state affairs.
“There are many companies in this industry that have been located in the same place for many, many years. It’s hard to make that ultimate decision to leave, to relocate,” noted the governor during the discussion. “But it’s clear — some of these companies have no choice. Radical policies are making it virtually impossible for them to operate. In Mississippi though, it’s quality of life and quality of workforce. And if you’re going to be in the firearm industry and employ people in Mississippi, you’re going to have a workforce that believes in your product.”
Protecting Public Lands
Gov. Reeves also stressed the importance of protecting and improving public lands to ensure they remain an accessible resource for the state’s citizens. In 2014, he noted, Mississippi voters approved a constitutional amendment guaranteeing the individual right to hunt and fish.
“For Mississippi, it’s a matter of quality of life. And that means for everybody,” the governor pointed out. “To ensure that, we passed legislation last year to create the Mississippi Stewardship Fund, transferring $20 million each year to make sure we properly take care of our state public lands so that everyone in the state can enjoy those opportunities. We want every kid in Mississippi — regardless of what their mom or dad does — to have the opportunity to enjoy the great outdoors and that means protecting and improving public lands. Mississippi is one of those states that has historically done a good job on conservation.”