Connecticut…a heritage… (revised & updated)

I am a former resident of the State of Connecticut. It is a state with a very unique heritage.  Many great names, (though sadly, a few are defunct or merely names owned by foreign conglomerates).  However, there is a lot of firearm history in the Connecticut River Valley, many great names including Colt, Marlin, Winchester.

Connecticut firearm manufacturers:

Colt Firearms (Hartford, CT)
Marlin Firearms (North Haven, CT)
O.F. Mossberg and Sons (North Haven, CT)
Sturm, Ruger and Company (Southport, CT)
Remington Arms Company / Union Metallic Cartridge Company ( Bridgeport, CT)
Winchester Ammunition (New Haven, CT)
Sharps Rifle Manufacturing Company
Smith & Wesson (is just over the board in Springfield, Mass)

Even the NSSF is in Connecticut
National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) (Newton, CT)

A recent post on Say Uncle encouraged me to revise, update and re-publish this post. He inquired why companies like Remington endure in such anti-gun states as New York. It’s hard to grasp the answer.  Yes, there is a fair amount of undertaking to relocate a factory. But this is done all the time.  And infact many companies have moved their factories (Ruger moved a lot of production to Arizona and New Hampshire), but some still retain their corporate headquarters in Connecticut.

I think in order to understand this reticence in departing Connecticut one must look at the history.  Let’s start with Eli Whitney, sure he is most famed for the invention of the cotton gin, but he was instrumental in the firearm industry.  Standardizing parts for mass assembly.  Prior it was common for one maker to construct an entire rifle, fitting each part. Eli Whitney structured his business around the parts, being made to an exacting specification so that they could fit together with any production units. Beyond the immediate tangible benefits in production, there is an added advantage in that field repairs are much easier when you can salvage parts from two broken muskets to fashion a single working one.

First contract of Eli Whitney as a firearms manufacturer, 1786. Signed by Oliver Wolcott, Secretary of the Treasury. (Courtesy of Wikipedia/WikiCommons)

The first pistol factory in the U.S. was constructed in Connecticut (and a couple others followed within the same year or so.

“In 1810, Oliver Bidwell built the first pistol factory in the United States on the Pameacha River in Middletown, winning a contract with the United States War Department for handmade pistols.”

“By 1904, Connecticut’s firearms industry was producing four-fifths of the ammunition and more than one-fourth of the total value of all firearms manufactured by nongovernment factories in the US.”

Think about 80% of all ammunition came from Connecticut.  And 25% of all firearms.  That’s why I advocate that there is really no place in the nation, and perhaps no place in the world that has quite the firearm history an legacy as the Connecticut River Valley. (Note, Italy with it’s very long firearm history, probably has the best competing argument. )

In fact, Connecticut has born the nickname “the arsenal of democracy.”

Yes, it’s very bittersweet when you compare the history with the present day status of the region. 


UPDATE: Great photos of a few Connecticut River Valley firearm manufacturing facilities courtesy of the Boston Globe.


New Haven, CT (former hometown) – 4th most dangerous city

New Haven, CT has come in 4th for most violent cities following Detroit/Flint, Michigan and St. Louis.

Having lived in the city of New Haven for many years, I can attest to the caliber of law enforcement the city has.  Good/effective cops are passed over for political/social reasons.  Many of the police are sub-par, & unprofessional.

When I was in high school, I was jumped by a mob that was racially motivated. Right before this happened, I watched a pair of mounted police see the crowd and activities and turn their horses around and leave.

Of course, this is the same city that when I dialed 9-1-1 to describe and on-going incident responded “It’s New Haven, whad’ya want us to do about it” for which the city would later send 3 police cruisers in response to fill out paperwork. 80% of my experiences with New Haven police have been negative.

Not all the police officers in New Haven are bad. But overall, it’s an ineffective force.  In a state that doesn’t make for easy access to handguns for it’s citizens, and a city which does it’s best to discourage legal ownership.

The irony is that the City of New Haven always seems to do better under Republican Presidents, and has high violence under Democrat ones. No real reason for it that I see.  But the city has had a Democrat mayor since 1954. I think the city needs a change. Not saying New Haven should elect a Republican. Just something other than a Democrat, and in particular, someone other than Mayor John DeStefano.  I think it’s about time New Haven got rid of it’s mayor. He’s been their since I graduated high school. Clearly, he’s doing a lousy job.

New Haven Police Sergeant “City residents should arm themselves”

As a former resident of New Haven, let me say a few things. The city needs more officers – not less. The city needs less crappy officers as well.

My wife comments that cuts always seem to involve police. Even though they tend to be a very very small portion of the budget. In fact, these high profile cuts are often done because they raise the ire of the city and help spur the cause of tax increases.

I have a lot of personal experience with the police of New Haven. Can I be honest, 90% of my loss of respect for police officers came from that city.

– I’ve dialed 9-1-1 and never had a response. After multiple incidents in a given day.

– Once dialed 9-1-1 and was told “It’s New Haven, what’d’ya expect us to do about it.” (Mind you, this same call later resulted in three police cars being sent to take down a police report.)

– When a known convicted federal felon broke into my mother’s house. We could not even get the police to dust for fingerprints. So that the info could be turned over to the man’s parole officer.

– And God forbid, you ever get into any situation involving a younger woman with a nice butt. The New Haven police will be such horny wankers that they won’t even bother to listen to you – even if you’re the victim.

So let me say clearly, that the New Haven police department is one of the major factors in my realization that every individual must take the law into their own hands. And hopefully, your police department will there to back you up.

So when a representative of the New Haven police say “city residents should arm themselves”, I fully agree.

Let me also chime in and say that New Haven’s got some damn good officers too. And thanks to two men in blue, a lot of my faither in police was restored.

After having a series of failed responses and unprofessional behavior on the part of a number New Haven police officers (and one insane New Jersey state trooper); I had pretty much began writing the police off.

Mind you, I am an Eagle Scout and it was very much ingrained in me that police officers are good folk. I never looked at them in any derogatory fashion. But I had just about lost all faith. One simple event changed that.

I was helping a friend push his broken truck into my driveway. It was snowing. Suddenly flashing lights appeared. I was in no mood for any hassle from a police department that had failed me way too many times in the prior 6 months. When the two officers stepped out, I was ready to be defensive (but civil). Instead, they offered to give us a hand. The four of us pushed the truck up into my driveway.

While that may seem a trivial matter, it was to me an act of restoration. “To serve and protect”. Here were two good officers. Two helpful officers. It told me that there were still good officers on the streets who weren’t about their egos, who weren’t lazy, who took their motto seriously. So how could such a little act change my attitude to an entire plethora of uniformed officers?

Simple…it reminded me that there are good cops. Therefore I could not allow myself to look upon all cops with disdain. To those two badges….thank you.

PS – And to all those who told me, “then maybe I should move?”, I did, and am much happier for it. Though I do miss the culinary mecca that is New Haven.

Published in: on February 19, 2011 at 4:35 am  Leave a Comment  
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New Haven Register on Guns

The newspaper of my former hometown of New Haven Connecticut has done a series on “Guns”.

Rather interesting page. It has a number of videos on different perspectives of guns. From a forensic detective to the history of Winchester in New Haven. There is even a piece on shooting clays.  The one video segment that is on New Haven’s crime and violence problem even came across with points more focused on the criminal activities than on guns.  Albeit, commenting about New Haven youth turning to guns.

Below the videos are several articles. Some are decent some are trash.

Published in: on January 25, 2010 at 9:18 pm  Comments (1)  
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