March 9, 2014

Sweet home Alabama? Remington adds Huntsville location

Most of us in New York’s gun community have known for some time that Remington Outdoor Company was expanding its operations, setting up shop in Huntsville, Ala.

However, when the official announcement of the opening of the new plant came two weeks ago, along with a projected addition of 2,000 jobs over the next decade, an immediate reaction for some was that all of the approximately 1,300 jobs at the Ilion plant in central New York would be heading south.

There’s certainly reason to suspect that Remington would give up on New York. We’re not exactly a gun-business friendly state these days, especially since the passage of the SAFE Act. The governor’s office, however, maintains that this out-of-state expansion does not affect jobs in Ilion.

However, Jim Shephard, editor of the Outdoor Wire, an online media service, contradicted that statement last week on his website. Shepherd reported that he spoke with an unnamed official from Remington who said that at least some jobs, especially research and development positions, will be relocated from New York to the new plant, which is mainly set up to handle new products.

Business is good for Remington. Ammunition remains in high demand and overall the company has grown significantly in recent years. A company press release stated that growth to be from 2,400 employees in 2008 to 4,200 employees in 2013; a 75 percent increase.

It has been suggested that New Yorkers are overreacting to last week’s announcement regarding the future of the New York plant. Remington operates in numerous states and the Huntsville plant was in the works well before the SAFE Act was passed in early 2013.

Still, concern over Remington’s future in New York is nothing new. At the very first Sportsman’s Outreach Advocacy Day that took place in Albany in early 2010, Remington’s Ilion plant manager Jim Rabbia mentioned that if legislation were passed in New York to require microstamping, a technology that requires a unique digital imprint from the firearm on ammunition, that the company would likely discontinue the manufacture of handguns at the Ilion plant. Microstamping was a big issue at that time and a red flag went up.

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