The people's champ when it comes to home AR-15 builds is shifting its hometown to one that is more welcoming and less taxing when it comes to firearms. 

Aero Precision announced last week they are moving to a new facility with 268,000 square feet of floor space in the Lakewood Industrial Park, the city that is home to Washington's Joint Base Lewis-McChord. As such, Aero will be leaving the city of Tacoma – which has recently adopted a mandatory tax on every firearm and box of ammunition sold at retail – behind. 

"We are very excited to be working with the City of Lakewood on our relocation," said Scott Dover, CEO and founder. "The city representatives have been extremely welcoming, and we foresee Lakewood as the long-term home for Aero Precision as we continue to position ourselves as a top-tier manufacturing facility in the state of Washington."

Tacoma’s City Council in 2019 moved to adopt a $25 tax on all firearms and between 2 to 5 cents on all ammunition sold inside the city limits, emulating a similar controversial revue scheme installed by Seattle in 2015. At the time, Dover warned it would drive gun businesses out of town or out of production. 

"This tax will affect not only over-the-counter sales, but it will eventually affect parts and components," he told local media. "It will just literally put us out of business if we were to stay in Tacoma with this type of tax.”

Better Days in Lakewood

The company hopes that the move will help it continue to grow. 

"The substantial growth our business has achieved over the past several years has tested the limits of our current facilities," said Dover. "This move will allow a full company consolidation, bringing all Aero Precision operations under one roof. Expanding our footprint is important for the continued growth of our company and will allow us to create efficiencies that will benefit our customers and employees alike."

Aero Precision currently employs a diverse workforce of over 800 and the move will make it Lakewood's largest private employer. This not only gives the company a significant impact on the city’s economic vitality but at the same time making it attractive to veterans from JBLM looking to transition to the industry.

The company says the relocation will be a phased approach starting in February with the goal of having all business functions in the new Lakewood facility by end of the year.

"Tacoma could have avoided such an impactful business blunder that’s certain to benefit Lakewood," said Larry Keane, senior vice president of Government & Public Affairs to the National Shooting Sports Foundation. "Community firearm retailers and the firearm industry commit millions to firearm education and safety programs every year. These Real Solutions have led to the lowest number of unintentional firearm fatalities since data was first tracked more than 100 years ago. There’s no doubt Aero Precision will continue leading in these efforts at their new facilities."

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