Currently located in Milan, Illinois, the Lewis Machine & Tool Company (LMT) is now eyeing a move across the Mississippi River to Davenport, Iowa. The new location will only be a few miles away, but crossing the state border may make a world of difference to the gun maker.
“As I understand it, they need more space, and there is also a concern with the Illinois gun laws,” Milan Mayor Duane Dawson told Quad-Cities Online. “There’s only so much we can do with where they are.”
Illinois has a reputation for being tough on guns, but recent events saw the state reverse its stance on concealed carry. Notoriously gun-restrictive Chicago also made headlines recently with the abolishment of its citywide gun registry. According to LMT owner Karl Lewis, however, the move has been in the works since 2007.
“We just don’t have enough room to expand at our current location,” Lewis said.
The new facility will encompass 60,000 square feet, compared to the combined 36,000 square feet LMT currently has with its main building and a warehouse. Milan’s relative closeness to Davenport also means the company could spare its 170 employees the hassle of relocating. Continuing to employ commuting workers means that LMT could still have a positive economic impact in Milan while bringing new jobs and opportunities to Davenport.
A telephone call to LMT confirmed that the move is in its very early stage, although Lewis says that the move could occur as early as 2014.