Montana Public Radio: Montana Gun Manufacturers Take Aim At Global Markets

The United States is a big player in the global arms trade, and nationwide, Montana is pretty into the gun business, it has the highest number of licensed gun manufacturers per capita of any state.

But not very many Montana guns are sold overseas. Montana’s Senators Jon Tester and Steve Daines are trying to change that for people like Peter Noreen.

Noreen started and runs Noreen Firearms in Belgrade, which has 15 employees. Several men oversee SUV-sized machines that turn aluminum bricks into gun parts. In the adjacent room, an employee assembles the rifles. Peter’s wearing a faded, camo baseball hat, and when he smiles, his whole face lights up.

“We’re one of the larger manufacturers in Montana,” says Noreen. “Last year we produced somewhere in the vicinity of 14,000 firearms.”

Of the more than 150 licensed gun manufacturers in Montana, only a handful make most of the guns produced in-state. Noreen exports a small percentage of guns. Most go to individuals, but he has some bigger customers, too.