An upstate New York lawmaker said the loss of manufacturing jobs in the state last month is due to an anti-gun administration that has ignored pleas from local officials to be involved in the negotiating process.
“Remington talks have come to a halt,” said Assemblyman Marc W. Butler (R.-Newport), whose district includes the Village of Ilion, where the Remington Outdoor Company has been located for almost 200 years. “We are losing 105 jobs at the Ilion primary plant,” said Butler.
In February he predicted long-term consequences of Remington’s decision to expand to Huntsville, Ala., instead of Ilion, N.Y. The small community of 8,000 people Northwest of Albany will be hit-hard by the layoffs, said Butler. Remington, the country’s oldest firearm manufacturer, is adding a 500,000 sq.-ft. development site in Huntsville.
“It is very unfortunate for us in New York,” he said. “We have a great, quality work force; expansion here would have been ideal.” There were talks about additional facilities at “The Pumpkin Patch” in Herkimer County; however he said information was not given to the area senator or county officials, until after they learned about it in the news.
“The core product line at Ilion has not been affected by the job losses,” he said. “We could preserve what remains there.” The Ilion branch of Remington, which has about 1300 employees, has a building that is old, and antiquated, said Butler. If the facility is modernized, he is hopeful Remington will find a way to sell its sub-products there.
Remington 1911 and Bushmaster is shifting from New York to Alabama due to the odious provisions in the SAFE Act, he said. “Bushmaster rifles are considered assault weapons.” Bushmaster, who is the leading supplier of AR15-type rifles in the nation, is sold to consumers for hunting, recreation, competition, and home defense.
Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo dismissed criticism that the Mohawk Valley gun-giant has laid off workers because of the state’s gun-control laws, said Thomas H. King, president of the New York State Rifle & Pistol Association, the largest state affiliate of the National Rifle Association.
It is Cuomo’s anti-gun agenda that has hurt business and will continue to hurt business in New York, he said. “Remington has been critical of the SAFE Act since the gun-control law was championed by Cuomo in January 2013.”
Butler, who has called for the repeal of the SAFE Act, said he was told by Herkimer County officials in February that the state offered a proposal to Remington to expand in New York but when he wrote Empire State Development Commissioner Kenneth Adams over 7 months ago to request details of its proposal, no response was forthcoming.
“Twenty-four states made proposals for Remington to expand in their state,” he said. “What did New York bring to the table?”
In his letter to Adams, exclusively given to Guns & Patriots, Butler said the failure to alert him and other elected officials of on-going negotiations between state officials and Remington is a failure of good governance. “It represents a real rupture in communications between the administration and legislators.” Together with community leaders and other elected officials, he said their objective is to reach-out to Cuomo to ascertain the state’s discussions with Remington.
“Remington made a general business decision,” he said. “After an uptick in demand, there has been a decline in demand.”
While Butler said he does not agree with its decision, he recognizes that other Remington facilities have been affected by the Huntsville expansion. Gun manufacturers, unfortunately, must counter unconstitutional boundaries mandated by the SAFE Act, as well as consider market fluctuations, he said.
Butler, who has served as state assemblyman for over 20 years, said: “I am disappointed Remington is not coming here.”