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December 19, 2014

Y’all come to Alabama

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Posted: Wednesday, February 19, 2014 12:43 am

You can’t make this stuff up. New York’s governor insulted pro-gun residents in his state, Alabama’s governor invited them to move here, and a month later a major gun-maker with 1,200 jobs at a New York plant announced plans to open a new plant in Huntsville.

The Remington Outdoor Company assures its employees at its Ilion, New York, factory their jobs are safe, but the timing of the events has brought a smile to Gov. Robert Bentley’s face and heartburn to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

About a month ago Cuomo went on a radio program and showed his intolerance for people who dared to differ with his world view. He said, among other things, that “pro-assault weapon…extreme conservatives…have no place in the state of New York, because that’s not who New Yorkers are.”

Gov. Bentley’s invitation for them to move here was a bit of political theater that got a lot of laughs last month, and again this month thanks to Remington’s announcement.

Remington plans to eventually employ about 2,000 people over a ten-year period at its Huntsville location. The company manufactures a variety of products for outdoors men and women, firearms and ammunition foremost among them. Remington is the only American maker of both firearms and ammunition. The company designs, manufactures and distributes its products to more than 60 countries under well-known brands such as Remington Arms, Bushmaster, DPMS, Marlin and Barnes Bullets.

We doubt Gov. Bentley’s invitation was the turning point for this week’s announcement, but it makes a good story. Remington has grown from 2,400 employees to 4,200 in the past five years, and has been looking for a place to expand, so that decision was almost certainly made before Cuomo stuck his foot in his mouth. Kahr and American Tactical Imports had previously announced plans to leave New York for more gun-friendly states, Beretta left Maryland, and Magpul left Colorado. The 1,200 employees at Remington’s Ilion, New York plant had reason to be concerned.

A union spokesman at the plant said New York’s “SAFE” anti-gun law would lead to job losses at the plant. The law was a knee-jerk reaction to the Newtown school shooting that was so poorly thought-out that it outlawed most of the guns carried by police officers in the state. They happened to fall under the New York definition of “assault weapons,” as do some of Remington’s products.

As a state hungry for manufacturing jobs, Alabama’s leaders have held their own in competing for new business, and were successful in bringing not just a new plant, but a new industry to the state. The American appetite for small arms and ammunition is still strong, for self-defense, collectors, sportsmen, target shooters and government contracts, not to mention international markets.

We’re glad to see the state diversifying its industrial base and happy to see another world class company cast a vote of confidence in Alabama as a great place to do business.

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