At least five states have contacted the parent company of Remington Arms to encourage the gun manufacturer to relocate in response to New York’s new, tougher gun control laws.
Lawmakers from Michigan, South Carolina, Arizona and Oklahoma have all sent letters to Remington’s owner, Freedom Group, since the state Legislature passed tougher gun control legislation two weeks ago. Texas first contacted the company in November 2012.
“When you hear news like this it does raise a high level of concern because of what the other states could potentially offer, but at the same time we have reached out to Remington and Freedom Group to let them know we support them and that we will continue to support them,” Herkimer County Industrial Development Agency Executive Director Mark Feane said during a telephone interview Thursday afternoon. “We certainly understand the company’s position that it needs to carefully evaluate all of its available options, and have told them that after they have done their due diligence we would like to sit down with them and discuss what we can do to help them meet their needs.”
Last spring, the company discussed leaving New York if the state required manufacturers to mark bullet casings with unique identifying information. It was not included in the final version of the law.
“Remington and Freedom Group have been contacted by other states in the past, so while the situation is a little different this time because of the new law that has been enacted, this is something we have some familiarity with,” said Feane. “The company has added some 450 jobs in the past four years which is almost unheard of in the current economic climate. It has been able to grow its manufacturing base here in the Mohawk Valley and its employment numbers at the Ilion plant are at their highest in years. Remington Arms is the type of company states like to invest in.”
Assemblywoman Claudia Tenney said Wednesday the fears of Remington leaving are “realistic.”
“These law-abiding and hard-working New Yorkers truly fear, not only for the future of their company, but also for their families and generations who have called New York home,” Tenney, R - New Hartford, wrote in a letter addressed to Gov. Andrew Cuomo. “I urge you to take action to prevent the possible loss of a proven manufacturing company from our state.”
The letter urged Cuomo to consider the “distress the hurried passage of the Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement Act has caused the people who live and work in the Mohawk Valley.”
The SAFE Act, which was signed into law on Jan. 16, includes a stricter ban on assault weapons, bans magazines that hold more than seven rounds and expands requirements for background checks.
“It is my hope that, as a self-professed owner of a Remington-made shotgun, you also take equal pride in a quality product made by the hard-working residents of New York state,” wrote Tenney.
Page 2 of 2 - The letters sent to Freedom Group cite each state’s business-friendly environment and support of the Second Amendment, but do not mention specific economic incentives for moving. The letters encourage the company to contact the state’s economic development offices.
Rep. Richard Hanna said dislodging Remington from New York may be an uphill battle, as he will continue to fight to keep the Remington plant that employs more than 1,300 people in Ilion.
“Generations of expertise is in the DNA of all those who work for Remington and live in upstate New York,” Hanna, R - Barneveld, said in a statement issued Tuesday. “The Ilion plant remains highly competitive, and its workers and the community are committed to the success of Remington. I look forward to working with New York state leaders to see that Remington stays here for generations to come and thrives right where it began almost 200 years ago.”
“A renowned company like Remington would be welcome almost anywhere, so it comes as no surprise that other states are having this conversation,” said Feane. “There is a level of concern, a high level of concern, but we remain committed to the company and its employees. They have our support and we stand ready to work with them as we always have in the past.”
Contributing: The Associated Press