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“The Blackhammer State”

February 25, 2014 - Larry Claypool
Since the Civil War Alabama has been known as “The Yellowhammer State”. They don’t have an official state nickname — that’s as close at they get — but they may want to declare it “The Blackhammer State” after news hit Huntsville (AL) in February that the Remington Outdoor Company was moving in — like 2,000 jobs moving in. Remington felt betrayed by its home state of New York after politicians pitched and passed the Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement (SAFE) Act last year in response to the tragic shootings in Newtown, Conn. The new law declared that many of the firearms Remington manufactures were illegal to purchase in the state they were built in. So, Remington threatened to move out. The threat became a reality, of sorts, with the announcement on February 17 that Remington was moving to Huntsville, AL and will take over a closed Chrysler car plant. They expect to employ over 2,000 people at that location over the next 10 years. The Ilion, NY plant is one of 19 manufacturing locations for Remington, who are known globally for the brands; Remington, Remington 1816, Bushmaster Firearms, DPMS/Panther Arms, Marlin, H&R, The Parker Gun, Mountain Khakis, Advanced Armament Corp., Dakota Arms, ParaUSA, Nesika, Storm Lake and Barnes Bullets. The Ilion plant employs 1,300, of which 1,180 are union workers. Also known as Remington Arms Company, its one of the oldest continuously operated gun manufacturers in the nation. It was founded in upstate New York in 1816. The company is now headquartered in Madison, N.C. They produce and sell sporting goods products for the hunting and shooting sports markets, as well as military, government and law enforcement markets. Some feel the Ilion plant will be phased out of business after the Huntsville plant is up and running. "It can't be good," said Fran Madore, president of United Mine Workers Local 717, which represents the union employees in Ilion. "How can it be good?" George Kollitides, Chairman and CEO of Remington said the company is investing in its future. He says the company is growing, as are most firearms manufacturers. “This additional capacity is essential to fulfill demand and introduce new products. Having watched our Company grow from 2,400 employees in 2008 to 4,200 employees by the end of 2013, a five year, 75 percent increase, it is easy to see why we’re investing now.” Several other U.S. firearms companies have moved or threatened to move operations after stricter gun legislation. Here’s some examples: • Magpul, the countries largest gun magazine producers are leaving Colorado because of its new gun laws. Their moving operations to Texas and Wyoming. • Semi-automatic rifle manufacturer PTR Industries said it has decided to move to another state. Gun owners in Connecticut will now have to register their weapons and ammunition, and for the first time ever, the law requires background checks on all sales. "We knew right after reading the text that if it passed, we wouldn't have a choice," said PTR Industries owner Josh Fiorini. • Colt Manufacturing is now considering a move out of Connecticut after 175 years in business. This is due to the new gun bans. • Beretta USA will build its newest plant, not in Maryland, but in Tennessee. It will be the first U.S. Beretta manufacturing plant outside of Maryland. When state lawmakers approved a ban on the sale of assault-style rifles — some of which Beretta had been developing at its Accokeek plant — the company said it would look elsewhere for its next $45-million, 300-job plant. • Smith & Wesson is following Ruger out of the California semi-automatic pistol market in what is almost certain to be a mass exodus if the law stands. S&W recently announced it will stop selling its handguns in California rather than manufacture them to comply with the new microstamping law. Sturm, Ruger, also said that it will stop new sales to California. NOTE: Alabama is known as the “The Yellowhammer State”. The moniker came from a company of Alabama Civil War soldiers who wore uniforms trimmed in yellow cloth and were nicknamed Yellowhammers. NOTE II: Speaking of the civil war, how ironic is it that one of the northern gun manufacturers that helped the North win that war is now moving to the deep south.


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