The oldest continuously-operating gun manufacturer in North America, Remington Arms, is scouting locations near the cities of Nashville, Lebanon, and Clarksville in Tennessee, according to reports by a local newspaper.
Although the company has its corporate office in North Carolina, Remington’s largest production plant is situated in Ilion, New York. Earlier this year New York lawmakers passed a strict set of gun control laws known as the NY SAFE Act, making the state one of the toughest on guns in the nation nearly overnight. New York was the first state to pass new gun-related legislation after the tragic school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut last year. Several other states followed suit, including Maryland, Connecticut, and Colorado. The introduction of these restrictive new laws were heavily opposed by gun owners and firearm manufactures, many of which were unable to continue selling some of their products to residents in their home states.
In a show of solidarity with individual gun owners, companies like PTR Industries, Stag Arms, and Magpul have already begun plans to move to more gun-friendly locations. According to The Tennessean, Remington Arms may be the latest company to consider relocation. Belonging to the Freedom Group of gun manufacturers, Remington Arms is one of the largest producers of shotguns and rifles in the United States. As such, the company was courted after the passage of the NY SAFE Act by several states eager to acquire the famed gun maker, despite Remington’s announcement that it will not displace the nearly 1,300 employees at the Ilion plant without due consideration.
Remington’s New York factory produces the bulk of the company’s products and also includes a custom workshop for handcrafted firearms. Remington Arms has another production facility in Kentucky, an ammunition plant in Arkansas, and a technical center also in Kentucky.
The Tennessean reports that Remington is now eyeing Tennessee for future expansion. It is a worry for the residents of Ilion, who rely on the manufacturer to stabilize the local economy.
“Ilion, New York, is Remington—if it wasn’t for Remington, Ilion wouldn’t exist,” said Erin Crowe, office coordinator for the Mohawk Valley Chamber of Commerce. “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.”
Tennessee economic development officials have declined to comment on the situation.