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Faltering gunmaker Remington Firearms will cut its 205-year-old ties to New York and move the company's upstate headquarters to Georgia - the latest iconic weapons manufacturer to flee the restrictive Northeast for more gun-friendly laws in the South.
The company announced Monday that it would invest $100 million in a new facility in LaGrange, Georgia, southwest of Atlanta, and hire 856 people over five years.
Remington, which was founded in 1816 in Ilion, was bought out of bankruptcy for the second time in June 2020 after being weighed down by lawsuits and retail sales restrictions following the Sandy Hook massacre and other school shootings.
The move to Georgia comes slightly more than a month after famed gunmaker Smith & Wesson announced it will leave its historic 165-year-old headquarters in Massachusetts for a new home base in gun-friendly Tennessee, saying proposed legislation in the deep Blue state to ban manufacturing of assault weapons would devastate its bottom line.
A man walks past the Remington Arms Company in Ilion, New York, in a file photo
Remington shotguns are displayed during the annual National Rifle Association (NRA) convention in Dallas, Texas in 2018
Investors doing business as the Roundhill Group purchased the Remington-branded gun-making business, including operations in Ilion, New York, and Lenoir City, Tennessee, for $13 million.
Remington, the country's oldest gun maker, began making flintlock rifles in 1816. It swelled into a firearms conglomerate, but faced slumping sales, complaints about quality, and legal pressure over the Sandy Hook school massacre.
The current company no longer makes the Bushmaster AR-15 rifles used to kill 20 first-graders and six educators in the Sandy Hook shooting in Connecticut in 2012.
Gunmakers have been leaving their traditional home bases in the northeast as laws become more hostile toward guns and moving to more politically welcoming settings in the South and West.
'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.
Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp famously pointed a shotgun at another person in a campaign commercial when the Republican was seeking his current office in 2018.
'Georgia´s firearms industry is responsible for thousands of jobs and millions of dollars of investment in our communities,' Kemp said in a statement.
'I am a proud owner of some of Remington´s first-class product, and now, I am excited to welcome them to their new home in the Peach State.'
Scott Malone, the economic development director for the city of LaGrange, said Remington has already secured at least one building in the city, and will operate from a combination of new and renovated facilities. He said local governments would offer property tax abatements, plus utility and infrastructure improvements.
Remington could claim various state tax breaks, including an income tax credit allowing it to annually deduct $3,000 per job from state income taxes, up to $12.8 million over five years, as long as workers make at least $28,000 a year. The state will also pay to train workers, but declined to detail the entire incentive package, saying it was not complete yet.
Phil Smith, a spokesperson for the United Mine Workers of America, which represents some workers at a factory in Ilion, said the union had no information about whether workers in New York would be affected.
The new owners recently restarted operations there, calling back more than 200 workers who had been laid off. The local government in New York offered 10 years of tax breaks in exchange for the restart and upgrades.
Smith & Wesson's current HQ in Springfield Massachusetts, where it has been based since its founding in 1856
Smith & Wesson announced Thursday that it was moving its headquarters from Massachusetts to Tennessee in 2023 (pictured a mockup of the new HQ)
In addition to the shuttering its Massachusetts headquarters, and moving 550 jobs out of Springfield, it will also close facilities in Connecticut and Missouri as part of a consolidation plan.
Specifically, the company's plastic injection molding, pistol and long gun assembly and distribution will be moved to the new Tennessee facility, while its metal forging, machining, finishing and revolver assembly capacity will remain in Massachusetts.
The first Remington rifle was made in 1816 by Eliphalet Remington Jr., who handcrafted the barrel at his father's forge, the company said on its website.
This Remington advertisement for a pump gun appeared in magazines in 1931
An 1871 Remington ammunition advertisement is shown
He moved his burgeoning barrel-making business from the forge site to its current Ilion location in 1828,
The company began manufacturing complete guns in 1845 after Remington signed his first firearms contract to manufacture 5,000 rifles for the U.S. Army's ordnance department.
Remington's armory began supplying a variety of guns - including pistols, carbines, rifles and muskets - for the army and navy at the start of the civil war in 1861.
Remington will move its headquarters from Ilion, New York, to LaGrange, Georgia (shown)
By the time the civil war ended in 1865, Remington's army business was producing firearms for hunters, settlers, and sportsman.
The country's oldest gun maker's fortunes have turned in more recent years.
Despite gun sales reaching historic highs, it sought bankruptcy for the second time in June 2020 after being weighed down by lawsuits and retail sales restrictions following the Sandy Hook massacre and other school shootings.
A Connecticut State Police detective holds up a Bushmaster AR-15 rifle, produced by Remington Arms and the same make and model of gun used in the Sandy Hook School shooting, for a demonstration during a hearing about gun laws
Connecticut State Police lead a line of children from the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut in 2012. Remington faces a lawsuit from victims' families
Sandy Hook families claimed Remington violated the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act by marketing its Bushmaster XM15-E2S, an AR-15 style weapon, to civilians.
The weapon was used to kill 20 children and six adult staff at the school It was legally purchased by the shooter's mother, an investigation found.
Meanwhile, Smith & Weston announced September 30 that it will build a new $120million facility in Maryville by 2023 and eventually shutter the Springfield location that forged famed firearms like the .357 magnum - used by Clint Eastwood in the Dirty Harry movies.
Remington Firearms: A timeline
1816: Eliphalet Remington II handcrafted his first rifle barrel at his father’s forge, and carried it to Utica to have a local gunsmith fabricate it into a flintlock rifle
1828: Remington moved his barrel-making operation from the forge site down to 200 acres alongside the new Erie Canal, the site of Remington’s current factory in Ilion, New York
1845: Eliphalet signed a contract to manufacture 5,000 Model 1841 ‘Mississippi’ rifles for the U.S. Army ordnance department, marking the first time his company produced complete guns
Philo Remington, the oldest son of the gunmaker's founder, ran his father's company for over 25 years
1861: Remington’s armory supplies pistols, carbines, rifles and muskets for the army and navy at the start of the civil war
1865: After the civil war ends, Remington’s armory finds success manufacturing guns for hunters, settlers moving west, and sportsmen
1871: Remington begins manufacturing and selling ammunition
1906: Remington produces the Model 11, the country’s first autoloading shotgun. Throughout the following four decades, it sold more than 850,000 of the guns.
1917: During the First World War, Remington produced half the small arms ammunition used by US allies
1918: Remington unveils its first autoloading pistol
1940: The company began ammunition for the US during the Second World War, and ultimately produced more than half the small arms ammunition used allies
1950: Remington introduced the Model 870 shotgun, and has sold more than 10 million of the ‘wingmaster’ weapons to date
1959: Remington introduces the Nylon 66 autoloading .22 rifle
2012: Gunman Adam Lanza uses Remington’s Bushmaster AR-15-style rifle to kill 20 first graders and six educators at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut
2016: The company celebrates 200 years in the gun business
2018: Remington seeks bankruptcy protection in 2018. It exited court protection the same year, owned by creditors
2019: The Supreme Court a survivor and relatives of victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting can pursue their lawsuit against the maker of the rifle used to kill 26 people
2020: Remington, the oldest gun maker in the U.S., seeks bankruptcy protection for the second time in as many years
September 2021: Remington subpoenas for the academic, attendance and disciplinary records for five kids who were shot dead in the 2012 Sandy Hook massacre after their families filed a lawsuit against the bankrupt gunmaker
November 2021: Remington announces it’s moving its headquarters from upstate New York to gun-friendly Georgia
Sources: Remington Firearms and DailyMail.com archives
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