Remington Arms, which has manufactured firearms in upstate New York for more than 150 years, is looking at sites around Nashville, Tenn., for a potential corporate relocation or expansion that would likely include hundreds of manufacturing jobs.
The Madison, N.C.-based company, which is part of the nation’s largest firearms corporation, has recently scouted sites near in Lebanon, Clarksville, and around Nashville’s airport, according to the Tennessean newspaper.
Remington’s roughly 1,200-employee plant in Ilion makes rifles such as the Bushmaster semiautomatic weapon, which is now banned under New York’s Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement (SAFE) Act, the first law passed by any state following the December school shooting in Newtown, Conn.
Remington is among firearms manufacturers currently based in states where increasingly restrictive gun control laws are making their products illegal to possess. Gun-friendly states, especially Texas, are aggressively recruiting weapons makers — and their high-wage jobs — to move to their states.
New York’s hastily-adopted and often-amended SAFE Act will, essentially, destroy New York’s firearms industry, the family-wage jobs it generates and the towns that rely on them.
Towns like Ilion, N.Y.
“Ilion, New York, is Remington — if it wasn’t for Remington, Ilion wouldn’t exist,” Erin Crowe of the Mohawk Valley Chamber of Commerce in Utica, N.Y., told the Rochester Democrat-Chronicle. “There’s not a lot of new industries coming to central New York, so if you take a huge company like that and they leave, our unemployment rate is going to skyrocket.”
Remington also has plants in Lonoke, Ark. (a five-hour drive from Nashville), and in Mayfield, Ky. (a two-hour drive from Nashville). It has a technical and research center in Elizabethtown, Ky., which is also about two hours from Nashville. The company also has distribution operations in Memphis managed by a third-party company.
If Remington chooses to relocate operations from New York, it would add to the list of companies doing or planning to do so in part to protest stricter gun laws.
**More Companies on the Move **
– PTR Industries of Bristol, Conn., confirmed on June 19 that is moving to Aynor, S.C., near Myrtle Beach. PTR will maintain an investment of $8 million and at least 145 employees, paid an average of $19.39 an hour, by December 2016 to benefit from a lease agreement it signed with Horry County, S.C.
– Stag Arms, which employs more than 200 people in New Britain, Conn., has announced that it will not leave Connecticut — for now — but is looking to expand elsewhere, primarily South Carolina and Texas. “We had planned on growing in Connecticut and creating jobs here but with the uncertainty of the government, it’s difficult to do that,” Stag Arms President Mark Malkowski told the New Britain Herald on July 1. “We’re going to see how we do in another area. Then I’ll make a decision on whether we’ll move from Connecticut at a later date.”
– Kahr Arms of Rockland County, N.Y. announced following the adoption of New York’s SAFE Act that it would be moving some of its operations to Pennsylvania. Kahr had been considering building a new plant, with 80-100 additional jobs, in Orange County, N.Y. When asked about the move by the Wall Street Journal, Kahr Vice President of Sales and Marketing Frank Harris said of New York, “We don’t feel welcome.”
– HiViz Shooting Systems of Fort Collins, Colo., announced in mid-June that it is moving to Laramie, Wyo., in 2014 to escape Colorado’s newly imposed gun restrictions, including a 15-bullet magazine limit. HiViz sells 130 products in 30 countries. By 2024, HiViz plans to create 56 direct and indirect jobs, $21.3 million in payroll from those direct and indirect jobs, provide $858,000 in local tax revenue, $303,000 in state tax revenue, and support 43 households in Laramie.
– Magpul Industries Corp. announced in February that it would move from Boulder, Colo., to a more gun-friendly state, although has not yet named what state it will move to. Magpul directly employs 200 people in addition to 400 who work for suppliers and contractors. The company says it spends $85 million a year in payments to local suppliers and other companies.
– Shield Tactical, a firearms accessory manufacturer and training company, announced in June it would move its manufacturing plant from California to Shiner, Texas. The company said it would leave its training division in California “until the legislature outlaws everything.”
– Beretta USA, the Italian gun maker’s American subsidiary, is threatening to move its operations from Maryland, where payed a projected $31 million in taxes from 1997 to 2014. The threat to move comes after Maryland’s Legislature adopted a semi-automatic weapons ban that makes several of Beretta’s products illegal. Among those newly illegal products: The 600,000 M9s that Baretta’s Maryland plant manufactures for the Defense Department as the U.S. military’s standard-issue sidearm.
– Sturm, Ruger & Co. of Southport, Conn., which employs more than 2,000 people in two plants in Newport, N.H., and Prescott, Ariz., announced in late July that it would open a new plant that would employ more than 470 workers in Rockingham County, N.C., rather than in Connecticut.
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— Remington Arms scouts Middle TN after N.Y. bans its rifle