Remington Arms, a long-standing business in Ilion, NY and the country’s oldest gun manufacturing facility, is scheduled to close in March 2024 – citing the cost of operating the facility and New York’s hostile legislative environment.
Since it began producing weapons there in 1816, the business has suffered layoffs, brief closures, and bankruptcy; nonetheless, generations of local families have worked at the plant, which, according to its union, today employs roughly 270 people. The business anticipates layoffs between March 4 and March 18.
Over the past 15 years, the company has had to face heightened political and economic problems. Twenty first-graders and six teachers lost their lives in the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre in 2012, which involved the use of a Remington “Bushmaster” AR-15 by the shooter, Adam Lanza. In a 2015 lawsuit, the relatives of the nine shooting victims said Remington shouldn’t be allowed to sell guns like the AR-15 to the general public. In 2022, a settlement of $73 million was achieved – marking the first time a U.S. gun manufacturer was held responsible for a mass shooting.
The business also threatened to leave New York in 2013 following the enactment of the Safe Act, one of the strongest gun control measures in the nation.
In a statement released in response to the closing announcement, Cecil Roberts, International President of the United Mine Workers of America (UMWA), urged the business to “reconsider and explore alternative solutions” in order to maintain facility operations. Given the close approach to the holidays, Roberts described the decision as “extremely disappointing” and a “slap in the face to all of” the workers.
The company that owns the Remington guns plant in Ilion, RemArms, LLC, will keep running its 2014-opened production facility in Huntsville, Alabama.