The first gun manufacturer to leave Connecticut after it enacted tough new gun-control laws last year in the wake of the Newtown school shootings presented a commemorative rifle last week to the governor of South Carolina, its new home.

PTR Industries Inc. is among a wave of firearms makers moving or expanding away from the industry's traditional base in the U.S. Northeast to the more gun-friendly South.

Gun sales in the United States have grown steadily over the past 30 years and spiked last year after the Newtown shootings because of fear of coming restrictions, analysts said.