An Iconic Firearms Brand Is Giving Up On New York

(AP Photo/Julie Jacobson, File)

Just a month or so after Smith & Wesson announced it was moving its headquarters from Springfield, Massachusetts to Maryville, Tennessee another iconic brand has broken news that its breaking ties with its longtime home. Remington Arms, which has been headquartered in Ilion, NY since the early 1800s, is moving its headquarters to LaGrange, Georgia, bringing hundreds of jobs and pumping tens of millions of dollars into the local economy.

“We are very excited to come to Georgia, a state that not only welcomes business but enthusiastically supports and welcomes companies in the firearms industry,” Remington CEO Ken D’Arcy said in a statement.

I do hope the Ilion plant remains open while the corporate offices shift to Georgia, but I completely understand why the company decided that tradition and history couldn’t trump the blatant hostility shown towards the firearms industry by the Democrats in control in Albany. Honestly though, I’m a little surprised that the company settled on Georgia as their new home. I would have expected a state that was a little more solid in its conservative politics, rather than one that just elected two Democrats to the U.S. Senate. As you can imagine, though, Gov. Brian Kemp is thrilled about Remington’s decision.

It’s not immediately known what incentives the state offered to woo the gunmaker, which was based in Ilion, New York and has operations in Tennessee. Officials said Remington will hire for positions in production, operations, engineering, management, finance and administrative work.

In a statement welcoming the company, Kemp noted that he owns several Remington guns and said the industry sustained thousands of jobs in Georgia. A wave of firearms manufacturers have recently fled the Northeast for more politically hospitable environments in Georgia and elsewhere around the South.

“As yet another big manufacturing win for our state, I look forward to seeing the oldest firearms manufacturer in America thrive in Georgia’s pro-business environment,” Kemp said.

Well, one big plus is that the state isn’t waging economic war on gunmakers like New York is doing. Earlier this year then-Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a bill that allows for gun companies and gun stores to be sued under the state’s public nuisance law if a gun that is sold is used in a crime. At the time, the National Shooting Sports Foundation’s senior vice president and general counsel Larry Keane warned that the bill posed an “existential threat” to the firearms industry, and here we are just a few months later watching a storied gun company give up on its home for roughly two centuries.

Anti-gun legislation was also the reason why Smith & Wesson fled Massachusetts, remember. A bill that would have banned the manufacture of modern sporting rifles had been introduced by Democrats last session, and while the bill didn’t pass it was clear that gun control activists would be pushing hard for it in coming months. The company’s hand was forced by the anti-gun politicians and the gun control lobby, and they ended up finding their new home in Tennessee. In fact, Smith & Wesson has already broken ground on its Marysville headquarters.

Several state and local leaders attended the groundbreaking. The site, referred to as “Partnership Park North” for now, is 240 acres large and will house both the company headquarters and manufacturing operations, a local TV station reports.

… Mark Smith, President and CEO of Smith & Wesson, is looking forward to the move, but said it wasn’t an easy decision, given it had to be right for today and for generations to come. “We’ve got 170 years of history in Springfield, Massachusetts … so, for us it was especially difficult,” he said.

One of the reasons to head to Tennessee, the company reasoned, is its “support for the 2nd Amendment.”

Tennessee has moved to loosen gun restrictions in recent years under Republican leadership. Earlier this year, the state became the latest to allow most adults 21 and older to carry handguns without a permit that requires first clearing a state-level background check and training.

You know, Georgia isn’t yet a Constitutional Carry state, but with Remington giving the state a long-term vote of confidence, I wouldn’t be surprised if permitless carry became the law of the land in the very near future. Meanwhile, will the last gun company left in New York please turn out the lights?