It has long been assumed that New York’s anti-gun policies drove Remington Arms to expand into Alabama, rather than in Ilion, NY, where the company has operated since the early 1800s. Now there’s confirmation.
From the New York Daily News:
The company says one reason behind its decision to open a new plant in Alabama rather than expand in New York was “state policies affecting use of our products,” Remington Outdoor Company CEO George Kollitides wrote to some upstate officials Oct. 20.
The statement was taken by some as a direct shot at a tough gun control measure enacted by New York in early 2013 in the wake of the Newtown, Conn., school shootings.
Indeed, one part of the gun control measure, also known as the SAFE Act, banned AR-15 rifles in New York — the very gun Remington made at its plant in upstate Ilion.
Those assault guns will now be made in Alabama.
Kollitides also said workforce quality, business environment, tax and economic incentives, and existing infrastructure impacted the decision to open a plant in Alabama.
Remington first began considering new locations after the New York legislature passed the Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement (SAFE) Act, to which Kollitides alluded in his letter to state lawmakers. In addition to banning magazines that contain more than seven rounds and requiring instant background checks on ammo purchases, the law broadened the definition of so-called “assault weapons” to include a wide range of guns, including the Bushmaster AR-15, which is essentially the civilian version of the M-16, the fully automatic weapon that has been used by American soldiers since Vietnam.
The weapon has drawn the ire of liberal politicians, but has been fiercely defended by gun rights advocates, including NRA president David Keene who penned an op-ed titled “The AR-15: The Gun Liberals Love to Hate,” in which he criticized liberal politicians and members of the media for having “a simple minded and narrow understanding of why the founders included the Second Amendment in our Bill of Rights.”
Individuals defending the AR-15 say that it is an excellent weapon for self-defense. Perhaps most notably, business owners used AR-15s to successfully defended their shops against looters during the L.A. riots in the early 1990s.
Remington officials announced in May that they are moving the production lines for the Bushmaster rifle and 1911 pistol from Ilion, NY to Hunstville, Ala.
“In Alabama we strongly support and uphold our great U.S. Constitution on which our nation and our states were founded,” Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley told Yellowhammer. “The Constitution serves to protect individual Freedoms. Among them are those guaranteed in the Second Amendment, which protects the right of the people to keep and bear Arms. We will protect the Freedoms of individuals and welcome any one or any company to Alabama to discover as so many have, that we are a pro-business state filled with good, hardworking people.”
According to Remington’s website, the company designs, produces and sells sporting goods products for the hunting and shooting sports markets, as well as military, government and law enforcement markets. Founded in 1816 in upstate New York, the Company is one of the nation’s oldest continuously operating manufacturers. Remington is the only U.S. manufacturer of both firearms and ammunition products and one of the largest domestic producers of shotguns and rifles. The Company distributes its products throughout the U.S. and in over 55 foreign countries.
(Video below: Alabama’s ‘We Dare Defend our Rights’ motto played role in landing Remington)