The move by PNW Arms was like a signal flare to business and political leaders in the town of 800 people, who were in the process of trying to determine what industry would be best to pursue.

“We were in the middle of doing our marketing plan at the time and decided that firearms is the niche we would recommend,” said Gary White of Kennewick, Wash., a business marketing consultant who is helping develop the town’s pitch to gun makers.

Potlatch, they decided, would go from timber town to gun town. It would try to lure firearms and ammunition makers, and plans also called for hunting-themed housing and retail development.

The Idaho Department of Commerce is making firearms manufacturers a recruiting priority. The state recently passed a law that protects firearms makers from liability lawsuits or excessive regulation, White said.

“The regulatory environment in Idaho is friendly to guns and ammunition and we thought we could take this and run with it,” said B.J. Swanson, head of economic development for Latah County.

Source: Nicholas K. Geranios for the Associated Press.

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