Remington Arms, one of the nation’s oldest gun manufacturers, announced its official move to Georgia after spending the past 208 years in Ilion, New York. Company executives are excited about what the future has in store, but the move will leave more than 300 Ilion residents without work – and a small town without a piece of its identity. 

Mayor Says Town Is ‘Losing Its Soul’ 

Mayor John P. Stephens is one of the more than 7,000 residents who are concerned about what the move means for the community. “Ilion is Remington. Remington is Ilion,” he said – adding that losing 300 workers will hurt local businesses and the local economy. 

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“It’s like the town is losing its soul. It’s almost like losing a family member. That’s the thing that people are struggling with, the nostalgia, the history. It feels like we are losing the identity of the town,” Stephens said.

A Part Of Some People’s Family History

One retired Remington employee, Jim Conover, likened the facility leaving to having a ‘part of your family’ move away. Another employee, who currently works at the facility, detailed the rich family history that is now being broken. 

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“My mom worked there. My dad worked there. My wife works there with me now. My daughter works there with me now. My second daughter works there with me now. And my son-in-law works there,” the employee said. “So it’s a double-hit for me and my wife: two of us out of a job.”

Remington Arms CEO Excited For The Move

Remington Arms CEO, Ken D’Arcy, said he was excited to move the company to a state that aligns with its beliefs – adding that Georgia has ‘shown how important business is to the state’ and praised them for how ‘welcoming they are to all business.’ 

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“We are very excited to come to Georgia, a state that not only welcomes business but enthusiastically supports and welcomes companies in the firearms industry,” RemArms CEO Ken D’Arcy said in a recent statement. 

Crediting Move To New York’s Strict Gun Laws

One of the primary reasons why Remington Arms is suddenly moving its operations out of New York is due to the harsh gun restriction laws that Gov. Kathy Hochul has passed and continues to support – laws that Remington Arms CEO has had enough of.

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And he’s not alone. Several high-ranking officials have spoken out against the Governor’s restrictive gun laws recently – including Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY). “Hochul must stop her unconstitutional assault on the Second Amendment now,” she said.

Smith and Wesson Moves From MA To TN

Remington Arms isn’t the only company to move its operations from the northeast to the south. In October 2023, Smith and Wesson (one of the nation’s most popular gun manufacturers) moved its headquarters from Massachusetts to Maryville, Tennessee. 

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Their reasoning? Gun restriction laws that, if passed, would prohibit them from manufacturing certain firearms in the state. The CEO clarified that the firearms in question represented more than 60% of the company’s revenue. 

1816: E. Remington And Sons Founded

As for Remington Arms, they’re bringing nearly 200 years of history to an end in Ilion, NY. The company was initially founded in 1816 by a man named Eliphalet Remington II (1793–1861). He moved the company to Ilion in 1828. 

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Initially founded as E. Remington and Sons, the company didn’t change its name to Remington Arms Company until 1888, when the Remington family sold it to Marcellus Hartley and Partners. 

1917: Remington Becomes Involved In World War I

The United States entered World War I in April 1917 – more than two and a half years after the start of the war in July 1914. At the time, Russia had defaulted on its payment to Remington, leaving the company with huge stocks of ammunition and guns, but no prospects for payment. 

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The United States government ended up bailing the company out and purchasing nearly one million firearms from its inventory. Still, Remington Arms lost a lot of money due to Russia’s unwillingness to pay.

1933: DuPont Purchases 60% Of Remington Shares

In 1933, during the Great Depression, Remington Arms was purchased by Dupont de Nemours, Inc. – a multinational chemical company that had been around since 1802. They purchased 60% of the company’s shares, and purchased the rest in 1980.

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In the 1940s, Remington helped the US government build up its ammunition inventory. The government ended up opening several plants and facilities across the US, all of which were overseen by Remington Arms. 

1962: Introduces The Model 700 Bolt-Action Rifle

In 1962, Remington introduced what would become its most popular and successful creation – the Model 700 bolt-action rifle. The firearm inspired other companies to introduce similar models – raising the bar in an industry that needed it. 

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Remington went on to introduce several sub-variants of the Model 700, including the  Remington 700 BDL, Remington 700PSS (used by police officers and law enforcement), and the military M24 SWS (a sniper rifle used by the United States military).

1993: DuPont Sells Company For $300 Million

In 1993, more than three decades later, DuPont sold 100% of its shares to New York investment firm Clayton, Dubilier and Rice (CD and R) – a deal that totaled $300 million. The move came as rifle sales were dipping due to a lack of interest in hunting. 

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Between 1995 and 1997, the company opened two new plants in Kentucky – one in Mayfield and another in Elizabethtown. In 2004, they announced a plan to distribute advanced license plate technology and surveillance systems.

2007: Cerberus Capital Management Acquires Company

June 2007 saw yet another ownership change, with Cerberus Capital Management acquiring Remington Arms for $370 million – including $252 million of debt. The company also reported that it hadn’t turned a profit between 2003 and 2005. 

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Later that year, ammunition demand started rising during the  United States Ammunition Shortage – primarily due to concerns of future restrictions, and taxes on ammunition and firearms by the Obama administration. 

2014: Remington Moves Two Production Lines Out Of Ilion

In 2014, the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting spurred a series of gun control laws across the US – including the NY SAFE Act. In response, Remington moved two production lines out of their Ilion plant and into a new plant in Alabama. 

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That same year, the families of nine Sandy Hook victims filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Remington. The case spent several years between federal and state courts, but the Supreme Court eventually decided against hearing the case. 

2022: Settlement With Families Of Sandy Hook Victims

In 2022, Remington reached a $73 million settlement with the nine families, who also ‘obtained and can make public thousands of pages of internal company documents that prove Remington’s wrongdoing,’ according to CNN. 

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“This landmark, historic victory sends a forceful and compelling message to manufacturers and to the insurance and banking industries that support them: This is a high-risk market, it is not profitable, and you will be held accountable,” said one of the family members.