Attendees look over a pistol display at the National Rifle Association's annual convention April 25 in Indianapolis.
Some of the bluest of the blue bloods in the nation's gun industry are looking at moving production from state's that recently have passed stricter gun control laws, and the South is the hotspot.
As Remington Outdoors Co. considered 24 states for a new firearms production plant, support of the Second Amendment was high on its criteria list.
Remington announced in February it would build a $110 million plant in Huntsville. During the next decade, the plant is expected to create 2,000 jobs, company officials say.
We considered numerous factors in our decision-making process, said Teddy Novine, director of public affairs for Freedom Group Inc., the parent company of Remington. These factors included, among others, labor quality, pro-business environment, strong existing infrastructure and pro-Second Amendment policies.
Remington Outdoors, headquartered in Madison, N.C., has facilities in 19 states. Its largest plant is in Ilion, N.Y., where the company has had a presence since 1816. Remington has seen tremendous growth in the past five years, going from 2,400 employees in 2008 to 4,200 in 2013.
New York's passage of the Safe Firearms and Ammunition Enforcement (SAFE) Act in the wake of the Newtown, Conn., shootings is the major reason those Remington jobs didn't settle in Ilion and went to Alabama, a union official told syracuse.com.
The SAFE Act bans the ownership of AR-15 style rifle in the state. Remington makes AR-15 style rifles.
The SAFE Act has been a terrible thing from the beginning, said Fran Madore, president of United Mine Workers Local 717, which represents 1,180 of the 1,300 Remington employees in Ilion, N.Y. You'd think New York would be doing everything to keep us. Instead, it passes a law that cripples us.
Remington has no plans to move production from the Ilion plant, Novine said.
The Remington decision is not unique. Increasingly, gun makers with plants or headquarters in states that have passed more stringent gun control laws are looking to gun friendly states when it comes time to expand.
Beretta USA, headquartered in Accokeek, Md., announced in January that it will build a $45 million production plant in Gallatin, Tenn. The plant, which is the first U.S. Beretta production plant outside of Maryland, will employ 300 people.
Beretta USA manufactures the M-9, the standard .9 mm sidearm for the U.S. military, among other guns.
Finding a state that supported the Second Amendment did play a sizable role in our search, said Ryan Muety, spokesman for Beretta USA. There were several factors, one of which was a strong level of support for constitutional rights.
Beretta USA continues to have a significant impact in Maryland, said Nina Smith, spokesman for Gov. Martin O'Malley.
We appreciate Beretta's continued presence here in Maryland and their commitment to Prince George's County and our state, she said. Private sector business is driving economic growth in Maryland. We have created over 36,000 jobs since December 2012. We'll continue to work with members of our business community to create jobs and expand opportunity for more Marylanders.
Other firearms companies on the move include:
Ruger, headquartered in Southport, Conn., announced in July that it will build a production plant in Mayodan, N.C. The move marks the company's first major expansion in 25 years.
Kahr Arms, headquartered in Pearl River, N.Y., has purchased 620 acres in Blooming Grove Township, Penn. It plans on moving its corporate headquarters and research and development arm to Pennsylvania in the first phase of expansion. The second phase will include building a production plant at the site.
PTR Industries, which makes semi-automatic rifles, announced last June that it will relocate all operations from Bristol, Conn., to Aynor, S.C. The move was completed in January, the company's website says. The facility plans on producing 120 jobs by 2017.
Firearms economic impact
The firearms industry was responsible for about $38 billionin total economic activity in the United States in 2013, up97 percent from 2008.
Economic impact of the firearms industry in 2013 in states that have passed more strict gun control laws:
- New York: $2.1 billion
- Connecticut: $1.9 billion
- Massachusetts: $1.6 billion
- Colorado: $825
- Maryland: $511 million
Source: 2013 Firearms & Ammunition Industry Economic Impact report, compiled by the National Shooting Sports Foundation