Remington: After Two Centuries, An Anti-Gun Blue State Drives Out Another Gun Maker

by Tommy Grant

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It’s a sad day and marked the end of a nearly two-century era in New York. Add another tally on the board for a hostile gun control Blue state in the Northeast suffocating and pushing out a storied, tradition-rich firearm manufacturer that decided enough was enough.

RemArms, the latest iteration of Remington, announced it will close all manufacturing operations in Ilion, New York, and consolidate in La Grange, Georgia, completely leaving the Empire State. The doors will close for good by March of 2024.

“We are deeply saddened by the closing of the historic facility in Ilion,” RemArms CEO Ken D’Arcy said in a statement.

The closure means roughly 250 to 300 employees will no longer have jobs, and so far, New York Democratic Gov. Kathy Hochul has made no statement about the historic manufacturer opting to leave.

Total Industry Disdain

The news from D’Arcy comes at a time when it is increasingly apparent elected state officials in New York don’t want the 207-year-old firearm company. D’Arcy made it clear in his comments the state’s hostile legislative environment isn’t welcoming.

“We have a dedicated workforce at the Ilion facility, but maintaining and operating those very old buildings is cost prohibitive, and NY’s legislative environment remains a concern for our industry,” he said.

The concerning legislative environment D’Arcy references is multipronged. Anti-Second Amendment Democrats hold large majorities in the state’s legislature and there’s no gun control bill, or even anti-hunting bill for that matter, that isn’t a serious risk for becoming law.

Gov. Kathy Hochul in her lust for power has thrown her former pro-Second Amendment views in the trash heap and gone all-in on gun control, dismissing the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Bruen and enacting even more egregious and restrictive gun control measures instead. She’s been just fine to let the damage done by former disgraced Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s NY SAFE Act continue.

In addition, New York Attorney General Letitia James has continued her assault on firearm manufacturers too in an attempt to end run around Congress and the federal Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA). NSSF is in turn suing AG James for her attempts to use the state’s ‘public nuisance’ law to hold lawful firearm manufacturers responsible for the unlaw actions of unrelated remote third party criminals.

In a more infamous example of how petty the state’s leaders have been in showing open disdain for the firearm industry, don’t forget Remington’s D’Arcy offered in 2021 to repurpose their one-million square foot Ilion facility to mass produce personal protective equipment (PPE) for health care workers during the COVOD-19 pandemic to help save lives. That offer was completely ignored by then-Gov. Cuomo.

Facing that continual attack from elected state officials, it’s easy to see why Georgia’s sunshine and firearm-friendly environment was too good to ignore.

Friendly Leaders React

Following D’Arcy’s announcement, there were plenty of pro-Second Amendment, pro-industry elected officials coming out in support of RemArms and its workers.

U.S. Congresswoman Elise Stefanik, the highest-ranking Republican official in the state, offered choice words for the governor and her harmful policies.

“It is because of New York Democrats’ unconstitutional gun grab policies that the oldest gun manufacturer in the country has been run out of the state,” GOP Conference Chair Stefanik said. “Hochul must stop her unconstitutional assault on the Second Amendment now.”

New York state Senator Joe Griffo, and state Assemblymen Robert Smullen and Brian Miller, all Republicans, offered a joint statement, saying in part, “Unfortunately, like we have seen all too often in New York, burdensome regulations, crippling taxes and problematic energy and other policies continue to force businesses and companies to flee the state, taking jobs and livelihoods with them.”

Republican state Senator Mark Walczyk added, “Albany Democrats and their failed policies are directly responsible for the closure of this facility and the unemployment of roughly 250-300 New Yorkers.”

Twenty and Counting

The decision by RemArms to formally and finally exit the Empire State, while sad, isn’t all that surprising considering all the hostility coming from the state. The departure matches an ongoing trend of storied and historic firearm manufacturers leaving the Northeast and planting new roots in the South in more gun-friendly and welcoming states. RemArms marks at least the 20th firearm business to do so in recent years.

Firearm manufacturers are showing state elected officials they’re willing to invest their future in states that respect the firearm industry and the contributions it makes. Here’s a running list of those companies:

Alabama

  • Kimber expanded production to Troy, over Yonkers, N.Y. It later relocated its corporate headquarters to Alabama.

Georgia

  • Remington Firearms announced it will establish a global headquarters, research and development and expand production in La Grange. RemArms made their recent announcement that all Ilion, New York, manufacturing operations will move to La Grange as well.
  • Taurus moved production to Bainbridge, Ga., from South Florida in 2019.

Iowa

  • Les Baer moved from restrictive Illinois to LeClaire, Iowa, in 2007.
  • Lewis Machine & Tool Company (LMT) left Illinois after 40 years to relocate to Iowa in 2019.

Florida

  • Dark Storm Industries moved some operations from Oakdale, N.Y., to Merritt Island, Fla., and is considering relocating to other Florida communities, as well as in Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Texas.

Mississippi

  • Olin Corporation’s Winchester Ammunition moved most production from East Alton, Ill., to Oxford in 2011.

North Carolina

  • Sturm, Ruger and Co. expanded production in Mayodan, N.C., in 2013.

Pennsylvania

  • Kahr Arms moved their headquarters to Greely, Penn., from New York after the state rushed through passage of the SAFE Act. And pulling most of its manufacturing out of Worcester, Massachusetts.

South Carolina

  • American Tactical Imports relocated 100 jobs and its manufacturing from Rochester, N.Y., to Summerville, S.C., in 2013.
  • PTR Industries left Connecticut for Aynor in 2013, where it set up shop.

Tennessee

  • Beretta moved firearm production and engineering and design to Gallatin, Tenn., from Maryland in 2015 over concerns of increasingly strict gun control legislation.
  • Smith & Wesson announced it was moving the company headquarters and some production to Maryville in 2021. It held a ribbon cutting ceremony in October.

Texas

  • Mossberg expanded production in Eagle Pass, Texas, in 2013, instead of growing its New Haven, Conn., plant.
  • Colt Competition moved from Canby, Ore., to Breckenridge, Texas, in 2013.

Wyoming

  • Magpul Industries left Boulder, Colo., after the state passed magazine restrictions and moved production to Laramie, Wyo.
  • Weatherby Inc.’s Adam Weatherby announced at SHOT Show in 2018 that he was moving the company from California to Sheridan, Wyo.
  • Accessories maker HiViz announced in 2013 they were leaving Fort Collins, Colo., over restrictive gun control legislation to Laramie.
  • Stag Arms announced in 2019 they were opening their new facility in Cheyenne, Wyo., after leaving their former headquarters in New Britain, Conn.

 

Larry Keane is SVP for Government and Public Affairs, Assistant Secretary and General Counsel of the National Shooting Sports Foundation.

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