Utah-based North American Arms announced on Tuesday the company is now employee-owned and intends to keep on making neat little guns. 

Sandy Chisholm, NAA's president for the past 30 years, has sold the company to an employee stock trust and left Mike Griffin as President and CEO. According to a statement from NAA, the trust will annually "distribute equity ownership pieces of the company to the employees" over the next several years at no cost to the employees. 

Chisholm, who purchased the gunmaker best known for its tiny revolvers in 1992, said he chose the exit strategy rather than sell the company outright to other manufacturers in the firearms industry.

"Unfortunately, that would almost certainly lead to a relocation of this business and the loss of jobs for all those who I want to protect and reward," said Chisholm of his distaste to have another gunmaker gobble up NAA. "This route assures that stability."

Formed originally in Salt Lake City around 1971 as the Rocky Mountain Arms Corp, the company that today is NAA was founded by Richard J. Casull, who was also the father of the .454 Casull cartridge.

A gunsmith gifted with both exceptional intellectual ability and creative productivity, Casull was the holder of more than 20 patents including several filed in the 70s for small, single-action revolvers with a floating firing pin and an improved cylinder lock system. Rocky Mountain eventually changed its name to North American Arms around 1975 while Casull later went on to found Freedom Arms in Wyoming, with NAA concentrating their efforts on mini-revolvers while the newer FA went on to produce more full-sized guns.

As for Chisholm, he said he will remain active on the boards of NAA and of the two industry associations, NSSF and SAAMI. "I’m not done with this industry yet," he said.

Banner image: NAA Magnum Convertable in .22WMR. (Photo: Chris Eger/Guns.com)

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