Commission chair wants to bring gun and ammunition makers to Lake Co.



LAKE COUNTY, Fla. - Lake County has a new idea to boost its economy, and it involves going after guns.

Channel 9's Berndt Petersen found out why the county commission chair thinks she can convince gun and ammunition makers up north to pack up and move to Lake County.

Near the junction of Florida's Turnpike and U.S. 27 in Lake County sits hundreds of thousands of square feet of empty manufacturing space.

Some of the warehouses have been vacant for years, but the county commission believes it's the perfect place to make bullets.

Commission chair Leslie Campione will put out letters and ask the firearm and bullet makers, many of them in the northeast, to move their operations to Lake County.

"To let them know Lake County is a weapon-friendly, gun-friendly environment," said Campione. "We'd love to have them leave New York or wherever they're at and come set up shop in Lake County."

Because regulations are getting so tight in some of the states where the gun and ammo makers are based, some companies have indicated they might relocate. And right now, all of their products are flying off the shelves.

"So, if you want to target a business, you want to target one where there is going to be a lot of demand," said Jimmy Conner of the Lake County Commission. "I think it's a really good idea."

Lake County hasn't put together any kind of incentive package, but shoppers Channel 9 talked to in a local gun store said the state should help sweeten the deal to bring gun and ammo manufacturers to a place that won't over-regulate them.

"I think it's a fantastic idea. It draws in tax dollars and gives jobs to people," said resident Brian Tart.

In December 2011, gun maker Colt announced it would manufacture firearms at a plant in Osceola County.

The county and the state provided more than $1 million worth of incentives to seal the deal.