ATLANTA (AP) — Gun maker Remington Firearms will move its headquarters from Ilion, New York, to Georgia, with plans to open a factory and research operation there.
The company announced Monday that it would invest $100 million in the operation in LaGrange, Georgia, southwest of Atlanta, hiring 856 people over five years.
It was not immediately clear what effect the transfer would have on Remington's operations in New York and Tennessee. The company owns the parts of the former Remington Outdoor Co. which make rifles, shotguns and some handguns after the former parent auctioned its assets in pieces last year during a bankruptcy proceeding in Alabama.
Investors doing business as the Roundhill Group purchased the Remington-branded gun-making business, including operations in Ilion, New York, and Lenoir City, Tennessee for $13 million.
Remington, the country's oldest gun maker, began making flintlock rifles in 1816. It swelled into a firearms conglomerate, but faced slumping sales, complaints about quality, and legal pressure over the Sandy Hook school massacre. The current company no longer makes the Bushmaster AR-15 rifles used to kill 20 first-graders and six educators in the Sandy Hook shooting in Connecticut in 2012.
Gun makers have been leaving their traditional homes in the northeast as people there become more hostile to guns and moving to more politically welcoming settings in the South and West.
“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,” Remington CEO Ken D’Arcy said in a statement.
Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp famously pointed a shotgun at another person in a campaign commercial when the Republican was seeking his current office in 2018.
“Georgia’s firearms industry is responsible for thousands of jobs and millions of dollars of investment in our communities,” Kemp said in a statement. “I am a proud owner of some of Remington’s first-class product, and now, I am excited to welcome them to their new home in the Peach State."
Scott Malone, the economic development director for the city of LaGrange, said Remington has already secured at least one building in the city, and will operate from a combination of new and renovated facilities. He said local governments would offer property tax abatements, plus utility and infrastructure improvements.
Remington could claim various state tax breaks, including an income tax credit allowing it to annually deduct $3,000 per job from state income taxes, up to $12.8 million over five years, as long as workers make at least $28,000 a year. The state will also pay to train workers, but declined to detail the entire incentive package, saying it was not complete yet.
Phil Smith, a spokesperson for the United Mine Workers of America, which represents some workers at a factory in Ilion, said the union had no information about whether workers in New York would be affected. The new owners recently restarted operations there, calling back more than 200 workers who had been laid off. The local government in New York offered 10 years of tax breaks in exchange for the restart and upgrades.