One of the nation’s largest gun manufacturers, Remington Arms, has looked at sites around Nashville 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 company and has its largest plant in Ilion, N.Y., has scouted sites near Nashville’s airport, Lebanon and in Clarksville, Tenn.
Remington is among a growing number of gun manufacturers nationwide that have been courted by states pitching themselves as more gun-friendly. The wooing came after a handful of states, including New York, passed tougher gun control laws in the aftermath of last December’s shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., which claimed the lives of 20 first-graders and six educators.
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 Act, the first law passed by any state post-Newtown.
In addition to the much stricter definition of assault weapons, which now includes semiautomatic pistols and rifles with detachable magazines and one military-style feature, the New York SAFE Act banned magazines that contain more than seven rounds, required instant background checks on all ammunition purchases at the time of the sale and required mental health professionals to report concerns about a gun-owning patient who posed a risk of harming himself or others.
Quick passage of that law upset not only the gunmakers, but also residents of that state who own certain guns, said Erin Crowe, office coordinator for the Mohawk Valley Chamber of Commerce in Utica, N.Y. “Ilion, New York, is Remington — if it wasn’t for Remington, Ilion wouldn’t exist,” she said. “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.”
People familiar with Remington’s exploration of sites said the company looked around the Nashville area as recently as within the past month …
In Middle Tennessee, firearms maker Barrett already has 100 employees at its headquarters and manufacturing plant in Murfreesboro. And the National Rifle Association booked Nashville’s Music City Center convention hall for its 2015 annual convention with about 5,000 delegates.
Analysis & Commentary
This would be a welcome change. Cerebus / Freedom group, as we’ve seen, purchased numerous smaller gun manufacturers and closed out business while moving said manufacturing to Ilion. They conglomerated and centralized, and that is good neither for small businesses nor the communities they serve. There is a difference between buying to make businesses more efficient from business model changes, and buying in order to close down the competition.
Furthermore, in spite of the silly, fawning article National Review did on the plant in Ilion, gun owners never forgive and never forget. As we’ve discussed, see the Smith & Wesson boycott for a lesson in payback. Doubtless, Remington Arms didn’t support the recent New York gun laws. Nevertheless, at least a fraction of money going to purchase Remington products made in Ilion goes towards taxation for a totalitarian state to continue to do their thing.
In the end, I would have preferred that Remington relocate based on principle. But as I have previously remarked, I am in the market for a good bolt action rifle and was looking at the Remington 700 series. I am no longer considering Remington at all (for a 1911 either) because of the fact that Remington is primarily located in New York. Some of my readers weighed in similarly. With this change, if Remington indeed relocates its plant in Ilion, perhaps I’ll reconsider. If principle cannot force Remington to move, then perhaps market pressure can. Ruger is already ahead of the game.
Finally, I would prefer that Remington consider South Carolina. Remember, anywhere in S.C. is no more than several hours from one of the best beaches on earth and some of the most beautiful mountains on earth. Then again, Middle Tennessee ain’t bad. Remington should be encouraged to move. Their employees can enjoy the vista at Mount Le Conte and Clingman’s Dome within a few hours drive from where they will live. They will find good churches, and the people are warm and friendly.
Make it happen without delay.