ILION — News that the historic Remington Arms company is moving its headquarters to Georgia has fueled fears over whether the company, started in Ilion in 1816, would leave New York altogether.
Officials at RemArms, the gun maker’s new owners, though, say the move isn’t linked to manufacturing jobs at the Ilion factory; in fact, officials told the Albany Times-Union that they also plan to expand manufacturing in Ilion. “In Ilion, we are increasing production and attempting to hire more employees. The entire executive staff have spent a lot of time in Ilion, we are very pleased with the work being done and are confident we will be able to increase production in Ilion as needed,” company officials told the Times-Union.
The owners said that they wanted to be based in Georgia because of New York’s gun control laws.
Even though Ilion is considered the original Remington site, the actual headquarters has recently been in Alabama, where the company’s bankruptcy was filed last year.
More than 700 people worked at the Ilion plant when the old owners went into bankruptcy. The new owners, a consortium of investors known as the Roundhill Group, purchased the company and changed its official name to RemArms.
About 220 unionized workers are now at the plant, said Phil Smith, spokesman for the United Mine Workers of America, which represents the employees. It was unclear how many management employees are there.
Remington earlier in the year had weighed in against a proposal, which has since been signed into law, that could hold gun makers liable if it is found that they irresponsibly fuel the criminal gun market. Remington went into bankruptcy in part due to lawsuits in which survivors of the 2012 Sandy Hook school massacre in Newtown, Conn., sued the company. One of their assault-style rifles known as the Bushmaster was used in the school shooting.