The Wall Street Journal is reporting this morning that Remington Arms is planning to invest $20 million in an upgrade to its Ilion, New York plant. The news comes from local politicians who had a meeting on Wednesday with the company.
Local media outlets report that three senators and three Assembly members met with Remington officials on Wednesday to discuss what they could do to ensure the company keeps its plant in the Herkimer County village of Ilion, where Remington employs about 1,200 people.The report goes on to say that Remington themselves has no comment on the news.
Local news station WKTV Utica has more on the story. The story of the meeting of the New York legislators with senior officials from Remington Arms was the lead story on their evening broadcast.
The senior officials involved were Otto Weigl, senior vice president government and legislative affairs, Jonathan Sprole, general counsel, and Paul Merz, Ilion plant manager. This meeting is balanced out by a meeting between Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX) and Freedom Group CEO George Kollitides in Austin, Texas. Perry tweeted a picture of himself with Kollitides while holding what appears to be a Remington Defense AR-15 and wearing a Remington jacket on March 1st.
As I said in the headline, it doesn't make sense for Remington to invest money in plant and equipment upgrades to the Ilion plant given the NY SAFE law and the anti-gun fervor of New York's Gov. Andrew Cuomo. That said, it could be used as a bargaining chip with the industrial and economic development teams of other states that are seeking to have the plant move to their state.
The reality is that it isn't easy to relocate a plant of the size of the Remington plant in Ilion. While building a new plant in another state or moving the machinery wouldn't be hard, it would be hard to replicate the workforce. I could see Remington moving the AR, pistol, and semi-auto rifle production out of that plant and leaving the shotgun and bolt-action rifle manufacturing there. In a way that would make sense as the pistol production could be shifted to the Para USA plant in North Carolina and the AR and other semi-auto production could go to a new plant anywhere.
As with all of these things, we'll see.