Authored by Naveen Athrappully via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),
Gun manufacturer RemArms, previously known as Remington Arms, will close its manufacturing facility in Ilion, New York, next year, a decision that Republicans are blaming on Democrats’ anti-gun policies.
“I am writing to inform you that RemArms, LLC has decided to close its entire operations at 14 Hoefler Avenue, Ilion, NY 13357 (the ‘Ilion Facility’),” the company announced in a letter sent to union officials on Nov. 30, according to the local newspaper, the Utica Observer-Dispatch. “The Company expects that operations at the Ilion Facility will conclude on or about March 4, 2024. The Company did not arrive at this decision lightly.”
The layoffs will take place between March 4 and March 18.
Remington is the oldest gun maker in the United States. Founded in Ilion, New York, the company has been manufacturing firearms in the village since 1816. Several generations of families have worked at the plant.
“The loss of revenues to the entire community will have concerning effects going forward for the progress of Ilion and Herkimer County,” Vincent Bono, chairman of the Herkimer County Legislature, told the local newspaper. “The impact of the livelihoods of over 250 employees is a serious concern to our community.”
In 2021, Remington announced plans to move the company’s headquarters to Georgia. The letter mentions that Remington has “found an environment in Georgia that supports and welcomes the firearms industry.”
Commenting on the letter, New York state Sen. Mark Walczyk, a Republican, blamed “Albany Democrats and their failed policies” for being responsible for the closure of the facility, according to a Nov. 30 statement.
“Governors Cuomo and Hochul signed laws such as S7196-2021, the Gun Industry Liability Law, and the costly effects of the gas ban have pushed another good business out of New York State. I’ve opposed these shameful policies from the beginning and it's disheartening to see the Mohawk Valley suffer the consequences of the least friendly business climate in the nation,” he said in the statement.
“My heart goes out to the families affected by this closure as the announcement hits just before the holidays. My office remains ready to assist those impacted in any way.”
Since 2018, the firm has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy twice. The company also bore high costs in a lawsuit stemming from the 2012 Sandy Hook school massacre in Connecticut, settling with the families of the victims in a $73 million deal last year. The firm currently doesn't manufacture Bushmaster AR-15 rifles, the weapon used by the assailant.
In a petition filed during the case, Remington pointed out that the “possibility of imposing liability on an entire industry for harm that is solely caused by others is an abuse of the legal system.”
The company warned that politicized legal warfare against Second Amendment rights would place the firearms industry “in danger of being overwhelmed by the cost of defending itself.”
Remington didn't respond to a request for comment by press time.
Exiting New York
Remington sent the letter announcing the closure of the Ilion facility to officials with the United Mine Workers of America (UMWA). Commenting on the notice, UMWA International President Cecil E. Roberts called the company’s decision “extremely disappointing" in a statement.
“The workers in Ilion enabled RemArms to rise from the ashes of the Remington Arms bankruptcy in 2020–21. Without these workers and their dedication to producing the best firearms in the world, this company simply would not exist,” he said.
“Our members, the community, local political leaders, and the UMWA worked tirelessly to keep this facility open and to return the workers to the jobs they have had for over 100 years. ... This announcement by the company is a slap in the face to all of them. The timing adds insult to injury for those affected.”
The letter pointed out several “structural and continuing challenges that create production inefficiencies” at the Ilion facility.
For instance, the company bears “high and unexpected” insurance and maintenance costs, mostly because of buildings dating back to the early 1900s. The plant’s multibuilding, multistory layout leads to “excess” handling during the production process.
U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.) said she has spoken with local officials and Remington union members “about how we must stand up to New York’s failed unconstitutional gun bans.”
Remington isn’t the only firearms manufacturer to exit New York. Gun manufacturer and retailer Dark Storm Industries stated last year that it would move to Florida from New York.
Dark Storm was established to produce firearms in compliance with New York’s gun regulations, the company’s communications manager, Kevin Elder, told The Epoch Times. However, “they just keep adding on more and more restrictions and more hoops to jump through,” he said.
“We do a lot of charity work, and local law enforcement loves us. But as far as the state itself, they don’t want that kind of stuff up here,” Mr. Elder said.
The problems extended to disruptions from the banking and payments industry as well, he said. The company had to change banks and credit card processors, as they were denying service to firearms firms irrespective of their creditworthiness, he said.
Kevin Stocklin and Matthew Vadum contributed to the report.