Escape From New York: Remington Arms Flees South

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Less than two weeks after gunmaker Beretta beat feet out of Maryland following the state's adoption of restrictive gun laws, another firearms manufacturer is chosing to vote with its feet and abandon a state harboring animosity toward gun freedoms.

Remington Arms has called Ilion, N.Y., home since its founding in 1816, employing some 1,200 people in the process, but when it builds a new manufacturing facility with some 2,000 new jobs it won't be in the Empire State where they're created, but rather the Heart of Dixie, Alabama, that will reap the bounty. 

Such moves are becoming commonplace now. In the wake of the Sandy Hook school shooting, a number of states moved to restrict the ownership or manufacture of firearms. Colorado, for example, adopted a set of laws that, among other things, made it illegal to sell magazines that hold more than 15 rounds. In addition to the recall of two state legislators who voted in favor of the laws, it also had the effect of causing the respected Magpul Industries to leave the state for Texas. PTR Industries left Connecticut for South Carolina, Kahr Firearms abandoned New York for Pennsylvania, and Stag Arms has said it will expand outside Connecticut.

Even the big guns in gunmaking, Sturm, Ruger (NYSE: RGR  ) and Smith & Wesson Holding (NASDAQ: SWHC  ) , are taking hardcore stands on the issue. Ruger will be making its first major expansion in 25 years not in Connecticut, where it's been located since 1949, but in North Carolina, and both Ruger and Smith & Wesson will stop selling semiautomatic weapons in California because of that state's newly enacted law requiring "microstamping," the embedding of a unique code on a gun's firing pin that gets "stamped" on a bullet casing when fired.

While Remington did announce a $20 million expansion in Ilion last year after it scored an $80 million Defense Department contract, the latest move is notable if for no other reason than New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has made increasingly incendiary remarks about gun owners. In his state of the state address last year, Cuomo called some of them "extremists" who could see their legally owned firearms confiscated, while earlier this month he again equated so-called "assault weapon" gun owners with extremism and said they had "no place in the state of New York."

The problem with such language, aside from its divisiveness, is there is no such thing as an "assault weapon." What they're riled up over are merely cosmetic accessories that have no impact on functionality or lethality. An AR-15, the most popular kind of gun often referred to as an "assault" rifle, is no different from your standard hunting rifle except for the addition of scary-looking barrel shrouds, folding stocks, and pistol grips. The gun still fires the same; it just looks different (the "AR" in the model name doesn't mean "assault rifle," but rather "Armalite rifle," a gun based on the designs of the ArmaLite small arms engineering company).

Despite its popularity and politicians' fixation on it, the rifle is used in fewer crimes than other more common household items, like knives or hammers. In fact, hands, fists, and feet are used in twice as many murders as rifles. Overall, violent crimes with guns have been on the decline for years, and the murder rate by guns is at its lowest point since at least 1981, according to And all of that is occurring as gun ownership has increased.

Source: FBI.

Stag Arms has now come out with a "New York-compliant" AR-15 that just slightly modifies the traditional design to skirt the state's gun ban, but also highlights that all that was banned was merely cosmetic in nature. Stag Arms also offers configurations on other rifles to comply with various state laws, often for a modest additional charge. For example, it added a "bullet button" to one weapon that uses the tip of a bullet to eject an empty magazine to get around California's ban on detachable magazines that are removed by using your finger.

All of which goes to show why manufacturers are moving to or expanding in states that are friendlier to their businesses. The Remington 870 shotgun is arguably among the greatest shotguns ever made, but with more than 10 million sold since 1951, it's certainly the most popular of all time. With the likely reduction in workforce in New York, Remington's great heritage will now become the legacy of Alabama, and indicates the dam is breaking open and other gunmakers will flood states more conducive to their growth.

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Read/Post Comments (42) | Recommend This Article (51)

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Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On February 16, 2014, at 6:07 PM, joepet54 wrote:

    Congratulations Remington arms. Smart move.

  • Report this Comment On February 16, 2014, at 6:16 PM, motormouth wrote:

    Go find a quarter stamped for the state of New York. What is the statement on the back ? "New York Gateway to Freedom" The mayor is a coward, a Nazi, a cancer on freedom. And has not the guts to remove himself from society where without freedom or firearms in the hands of the citizenry, freedom will cease to exist and only the dictatorship will own firearms. Now the jobless ex firearms manufacturing employees can suffer and thank their gutless leaders who still have an income.

  • Report this Comment On February 16, 2014, at 6:22 PM, wolf2525 wrote:

    I would do just about anything to flee NYC if I lived in that socialists run cess pool.

  • Report this Comment On February 16, 2014, at 6:29 PM, cletius wrote:

    yes gun makers get out of these states that is run by these dictators

  • Report this Comment On February 16, 2014, at 7:17 PM, tjboo wrote:

    This is what Andrew Cuomo and his anti-Constitution liberal toadies do for a living - drive business out of New York state, ignore the US Constitution and raise taxes.

  • Report this Comment On February 16, 2014, at 7:27 PM, JuergenH wrote:

    This is a somewhat incomplete article. How many people are getting laid off in NY vs how many will get hired in Ala? What's the difference in the labor rate between NY and Alabama?

    There's more going on in this story than NY's gun laws. This company is an international supplier of firearms. You're going to tell me they'd make a multi million dollar investment in moving without some financial payback? Business doesn't work that way.

  • Report this Comment On February 16, 2014, at 7:29 PM, kvet33 wrote:

    well you should know by now that's what the commies do,take away your freedom

  • Report this Comment On February 16, 2014, at 7:55 PM, hagar2935 wrote:

    You are going to see more than firearms businesses fleeing the repressive Liberal run States..... Anti-Business regulations are job and investment killers

  • Report this Comment On February 16, 2014, at 7:59 PM, RobertLB1 wrote:

    What I find most alarming is that some states are reacting contrary to everything we know about guns and gun related crimes. It's a known fact that taking away guns actually increases the number of gun related crimes, and there is a reduction in gun related crimes in states where there are few gun restrictions. Each one of these states that make stricter gun laws already have laws that do very well at dealing with gun crime, and this just proves that these state have no idea as to what to do when faced with mega-violent gun related crime.

    It isn't guns that are the problem, but it's people who these states have no idea how to stop or control. All these states do is throw more gun related laws on the books that have no way of stopping a person from walking into anyplace and start shooting children or movie goers. These states are failing in their attempt in trying to stop gun related crime.

    You go to states where there are fewer gun restrictions: Criminals are taking a big chance walking into a store, school, or movie theater with a gun because there might be a lot of guns in there waiting for them to shoot back at them. Fewer gun restrictions reduce gun related crime in these states, so why don't these other states follow their example? They don't want to have to admit that they made a mistake, and they are failures at reducing gun related crimes in these states.

  • Report this Comment On February 16, 2014, at 8:38 PM, jcar01 wrote:


    You asked about the labor rate in Alabama vs. New York and what incentives were offered to cause Remington to pick Alabama. Alabama has been offering incentives to businesses for quite a while to get them to choose Alabama as an manufacturing base, i.e., Hyundai locating in Montgomery, AL, etc. Alabama offers an educated and available workforce and is very union resistant which also helps keep the cost of manufacturing down. Also, taxes are extremely less than in states like New York. I'm not sure how many employees from Remington will be offered jobs in Alabama. I would assume that many close to retirement will be offered retirement or other incentives. I read an article once that stated that many have worked there for 20+ years anyway so their employees could retire if they so wish.

    Ultimately, this move just makes good business sense. They are moving to an area that is very 2nd Amendment and believes in the Constitution. They are going to have less tax liability and will get new employees that will start at a lower salary than many of the current employees of Remington who have been with the manufacturer for decades.

  • Report this Comment On February 16, 2014, at 8:38 PM, thegreentreefrog wrote:

    My family has lived in NY since the 1700's I got out 7 years ago. NY is no longer the Empire State in my eye's. Its controlled by Greedy blood sucking politicians and Unions. Mike Bloomberg Ex Mayor of NYC and the SODA NAZI, Anthony Weiner, sick little man ,Elliot Spitzer ,Bill Clinton. NY has gone to HELL!

  • Report this Comment On February 16, 2014, at 8:48 PM, thegreentreefrog wrote:

    Stag Arms has left Conn and relocated to South Carolina. They have Joined Boeing,BMW,Honda, Michilin tire to name a few .That have chosen to move to South Carolina. Low Tax's and Conservative Political values have made South Carolina the place to be.

  • Report this Comment On February 16, 2014, at 9:41 PM, lightnin001 wrote:

    Absolutely! Leave the leftie states in their own dust!

  • Report this Comment On February 16, 2014, at 10:18 PM, millewk wrote:

    I thought I would just add some information to the comment regarding Alabama's labor rates. Alabama's rates are consistent with all other automakers who have relocated to the south. Total compensation including wages, healthcare and retirement is about $45 per hour compared to UAW packages which are about 55-60 dollars per hour. Another poster mentioned that Hyundai relocated to Montgomery and that is true. I pass that massive plant and tech center on I-65 every time we go down to our second home. But Hyundai isn't all. There's a Mercedes Benz plant in Tuscaloosa, a Honda Plant in Talladega and Air Bus is building a Massive aircraft plant in Mobile. There an explanation of why Alabama is becoming another Texas for manufacturing. Governor Bentley and has built several technical training centers in Alabama to provide potential employees specific job training for these companies. What's laughable is these "Blue" state commenters who refer to southerners as ignorant rednecks. In the next ten years they will wonder what happened to all their jobs when it is too late.

  • Report this Comment On February 16, 2014, at 10:33 PM, comosichiam wrote:

    HOORAY for REMINGTON super smart move any business with an intelligent ceo knows New York is a poisonous place to do business and in this case why would you want to be in an atmosphere of hate and draconian firearm rules who needs that kind of nonsense leave the idiots to wallow in stupidity in good old NEW YORK especially with the new liberal idiot mayor.

  • Report this Comment On February 16, 2014, at 10:41 PM, jgroceryman wrote:

    When these Socialist decided to come to Texas and change our gun laws they are going to be surprised as we will not stand for their arrogant communist tatics. These politcians think they are going to change the nation as a whole when it comes to gun laws, but they will be surprised that we are not the sheep that are being led astray in NYC! I congratulate and welcome gun manufacturers to Texas our any other Southern state!

  • Report this Comment On February 16, 2014, at 11:10 PM, HarrySeward wrote:

    Finally someone shows a graph detailing causes of deaths in the US. I've just about had it with the left's ability to "Jedi Mind Trick" the world into believing that guns jump up and kill people at random without someone behind them to pull the trigger. Liberals need to know that the very freedom that they ABUSE with their mouths were brought to them with a gun. Long live freedom, long live the US Constitution.

  • Report this Comment On February 16, 2014, at 11:11 PM, BigFED wrote:

    "and both Ruger and Smith & Wesson will stop selling semiautomatic weapons because of that state's" newly enacted law requiring "microstamping,"

    Incomplete statement!!! "that state's" is California. Both Ruger and Smith& Wesson will stop selling their semi-automatic firearms within California. Other states may also be affected should they pass similar laws.

    I would suggest that they also stop ALL sales of their products any police agency in that state.

    The firearms industry is starting to grow a pair and understand they don't need to kow-tow to their political enemies since the alternative is to just shut their doors. Then those idiot liberals will wonder why their beloved police can longer find ANY firearms!

  • Report this Comment On February 16, 2014, at 11:17 PM, qrranger wrote:

    Quite frankly, anything that will destroy Cuomo, and the New Dork Sucks state I am all for. Cuomo should be dragged out and hung from the nearest tree. As the rest of the dam DAMOCRATIC legislatures, they can follow him on the limb. Good move Remington.

    No business can survive in New Dork Sucks state. I hope to see more fleeing this state in the future. Do not bring any business into this state for any reason. Cuomo's advertising about being business friendly is a lie and the claim about no taxes for 10 years is an even bigger one! There are no tax free zones.

  • Report this Comment On February 16, 2014, at 11:48 PM, jimmychurch wrote:

    Why Would America Sell Saudi Arabia 15,699 Dangerous Missiles?

  • Report this Comment On February 17, 2014, at 12:38 AM, thinkingfarahead wrote:

    I agree with many of the comments on here. First, I respect all of the companies that chose to leave these sick states. Second, these companies must refuse the sales to ALL law enforcement. If we the people cant bear them, than neither should the corrupt police of this country.

    Remington and Smith and Wesson have always been in my family and always will be. It's the poor fool that thinks they can come get my guns that will be sorry.

  • Report this Comment On February 17, 2014, at 2:44 AM, mikehmsn wrote:

    New York and other New England area States: Now do you see what happens when you make STUPID laws???????

    Comes back to bite you on the economic AZZ!

  • Report this Comment On February 17, 2014, at 3:28 AM, Dienekes wrote:

    Not good enough for me. Those manufacturers will have to completely move out of the repressive states before I do business with them. I don't want any of my dollars to go to supporting the governments that enact draconian firearms laws. I applaud companies like Magpul, I will buy their products.

  • Report this Comment On February 17, 2014, at 4:01 AM, Rob61a wrote:

    By the time cummo and the new socialist mayor is done with NY the only ones left will be the hard core liberals the homeless illegals and all the other dredges of society. I am so glad I got out of that liberal mecca when I did as they would have been knocking at my door to take my weapons.

  • Report this Comment On February 17, 2014, at 7:19 AM, RG67 wrote:

    One school gun tragedy after another, enough is enough. We must do whatever is needed to protect our families and children from gun violence. If Remington chooses to place its profitability before the safety of our people then go, move out, before we kick you out.

  • Report this Comment On February 17, 2014, at 7:27 AM, jyoung53559 wrote:

    Here is an about the another reason for the move is that they are moving to the southern states because they are right to work states meaning right to work for unions to worry about able to pay your employees much less more for your stock holders more for the CEO's.......

  • Report this Comment On February 17, 2014, at 7:57 AM, JuanGatos wrote:

    Word on the street here in CT is that Colt will be leaving once the union contract expires. Hopefully around that time so will I.

  • Report this Comment On February 17, 2014, at 8:17 AM, ron2cu wrote:

    Congrats remington!

    @RG67, you are a fool, there is no doubt in my mind.

  • Report this Comment On February 17, 2014, at 8:18 AM, servantoftruth wrote:

    They'll save a lot of money by not employing union members who want nothing but to feed, clothe and house their family. People can live in Alabama, work at the factory and sleep outside. And Remington knows that.

  • Report this Comment On February 17, 2014, at 9:02 AM, USA01 wrote:

    Congratulations to Remington in their decision to expand outside of the "State of Empires". New York has long been known for its anti-gun stance, at least NYC, whose philosophy on most issues overwhelms that of the rest of the state. I remember that when I lived in upstate NY, and went to get a pistol permit - not to carry concealed, but rather just to own a handgun - it took longer to get approved than it took for me to get a Top Secret clearance in the military. I think that speaks volumes right there.

    And as far as Gov. Andrew "Communist" Cuomo referring to gun owners as extremists, I believe that shows how extreme his beliefs are in contrast to traditional American values, and his incompetence as a governor to control the criminal element within his state.

    One problem I noted in the above article, however, regards the statement that says that "microstamping, (is) the embedding of a unique code on a gun's firing pin that gets "stamped" on a bullet casing when fired." The fact is that the firing pin doesn't come into contact with the cartridge case. Some other means must be incorporated in order stamp the actual case.

    Good luck to Remington and to all gun makers who finally show some guts and take their companies to more gun-friendly states.

  • Report this Comment On February 17, 2014, at 9:06 AM, notgonnahappen wrote:

    "Chosing to vote with its feet" even the spell check in this comments box caught that one.

  • Report this Comment On February 17, 2014, at 9:32 AM, virgilcole wrote:

    C'mon down gun makers, (and legal gun owners). You are welcome in the free part of the country.

    Ironic isn't it?

  • Report this Comment On February 17, 2014, at 10:18 AM, leckbug wrote:

    Good move, Remington. Let the remaining liberals who stay in New York, pick up your share of the tax-bite. "They", should have no problem, "sharing their wealth".

  • Report this Comment On February 17, 2014, at 10:26 AM, JAKEMAN wrote:

    As for someone who is still stuck living in New York... it saddens me Remington is packing up and leaving, and I cannot blame them for it. All the misguided views on firearms and our Second Amendment comes from brainwashed ivory tower liberals, third world immigrants, and ghetto welfare communities where most of the crime takes place and most of them who are of minority origin, speak out against guns and the Second Amendment when it is their own youth full of violence committing all the gun crimes... meanwhile the politicians feed off their ignorance and then takes advantage of legislating their own unconstitutional gun laws in which it only affects us law abiding citizens.

  • Report this Comment On February 17, 2014, at 11:03 AM, cityperson wrote:

    Not only the stuipid laws the elected and re-elected politicinas put out, but the stupid voters that put these people in office go hand in hand. Just like the new advertisement on TV here I CA, I have seen on TV, move to NY and start a busniess. What? Now that would be a dumb move for a company or someone who wants to start a busniess.

  • Report this Comment On February 17, 2014, at 11:16 AM, johnie1 wrote:

    I’m a firm 2 Amendment supporter and I own several “Rifles” and pistols It’s difficult to identify much less solve a problem when EVERYONE is tossing misleading charts and statements into every article and ignoring facts on both sides of the issue. This article is fairly accurate to a point, and then the author throws a misleading chart into it. The chart indicates most murders are committed by knives. This is a comparison death by “rifle” vs “knives”. The FBI and Bureau of Vital Statics refers to these weapons as “Firearms”, Firearms include hand Guns and collectively they are responsible for around 63% of killings in the U.S. The Left is just as bad or worse, they refuse to acknowledge that as gun sales increase murders decline, that fact has also been captured by the FBI and Bureau of Vital Statics. The real point of the article is to buy gun stocks, it would be better served if there was honest presentation on why I should do so, other than someone moving to another state.

  • Report this Comment On February 17, 2014, at 11:39 AM, vticerocks wrote:

    Why did you leave out the statistics on death by handguns? There are more deaths by handguns then all the other methods put together.

  • Report this Comment On February 17, 2014, at 1:30 PM, steve1002 wrote:

    Please pardon the pun, but states like Maryland and New York are shooting themselves in the foot. And they're also thumbing their noses at the 2nd Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America. The powers-to-be in these states are also setting themselves up for losing their seats in upcoming elections.

  • Report this Comment On February 17, 2014, at 1:39 PM, bigjohn327 wrote:

    death by hangun is not an accurate representation of fact as there are almost 600 deaths per year by firearms that are justified . about half by the police and half by the regular folks,,,also included are suicides ,,,,,the rates of which there is evidence that if the firearm was not available the suicide rate remains the same

  • Report this Comment On February 17, 2014, at 4:42 PM, Fredf wrote:

    Good riddance.

  • Report this Comment On February 17, 2014, at 6:28 PM, salg wrote:

    left ny in 69 to go in the navy,,went back in 98 went back to fla,,dont even like going to ny to visit family,,i was raised in the 50s and 60s in nyc,,was a devout ny er, thought i would be there for life,,no f--ken way, when i went back it didnt even resemble the place i remembered,, my aunts house is paid for but her property taxes are 12000 a year so she still works at 77 yrs old,,im glad these companies are leaving that s--t hole,,just like thacher said, socialism is great until you run out of other pepoles money

  • Report this Comment On February 18, 2014, at 7:42 AM, tslateone wrote:

    It's interesting that those supporting NY keep citing very low amounts of school shootings as cause to strip all freedoms. Apparently the "stop and frisk" brain-washing is working. By NY testing this approach they get residents acclimated to being ruled in a totalitarian manner and apparently accepting it for the "greater" good. People seem to already forget that a mere whack job of a man(just one of many), Hitler rose to power and ignited WWII all based on many of the same tactics straight out of NY politicians playbooks. Just because it's the US doesn't mean we don't harbor lunatic fringes that are willing to do and say anything to control you for their benefit. Anyone championing removing your only true protections turning predators into prey certainly doesn't harbor good will towards their fellow man. Vilification of an enemy is but one of many but important first steps as part of a totalitarian take-over.

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Rich has been a Fool since 1998 and writing for the site since 2004. After 20 years of patrolling the mean streets of suburbia, he hung up his badge and gun to take up a pen full time.

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