4:33pm

Thu February 20, 2014
Remington Arms

Remington's Alabama expansion plans have Ilion locals worried

When Remington Arms announced that it was going to build a new manufacturing and development facility in Huntsville, Ala., people in central New York's Mohawk valley became concerned their jobs were on the line.

So far none of the plant's 1,300 employees are losing their jobs, but lawmakers say more can be done to support the firearm manufacturer’s operation in the town of Ilion. New York’s passage of the controversial Safe Act has been cited as reasons for Remington's expansion in the south.

Utica-area Rep. Richard Hanna (R-Barneveld), is quick to point out that the state's economic atmosphere is also to blame.

"New York state, in and of itself, is one of the most difficult places to do business," he said.

That's not to say the Safe Act hasn’t also played a role. In the 13 months since its passage, two firearms companies, American Tactical Imports and KAHR arms, have moved their operations out of New York, claiming the law created uncertainty for their businesses.

State Sen. James Seward says Remington has assured him that no jobs will be leaving the state, and says there were similar rumblings in the mid-1990s.

"About 20 years ago, the company announced a new production facility in Kentucky. And at that time, there were all these concerns about you know, we're going to lose our Ilion plant to the state of Kentucky. And even though the Kentucky facility remains, we have actually grown in jobs and production in Ilion since that time," he points out.

Recently the Mohawk Valley plant received a $20 million upgrade to its facilities and in December was awarded a nearly $50 million contract to produce rifles for the armed forces of the Philippines.