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The Times
  • ‘Gun-friendly’ states, others reach out to Remington

  • The Michigan state Senate is in the committee process for passing a Firearms Freedom Act, which would exempt manufacturers of firearms from federal regulation.

    Oklahoma offers several incentives — such as tax breaks for a business that buys real estate — to attract industry to the state.

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  • The Michigan state Senate is in the committee process for passing a Firearms Freedom Act, which would exempt manufacturers of firearms from federal regulation.
    Oklahoma offers several incentives — such as tax breaks for a business that buys real estate — to attract industry to the state.
    Other states tout a gun friendliness that simply makes it easier for manufacturers such as Remington Arms to do business — and that’s made some area people nervous.
    These are some of the offerings that state officials from Michigan, South Carolina, Oklahoma, Arizona and Texas have given in letters to Remington Arms in the wake of New York passing the Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement Act.
    Oklahoma state Rep. Dan Kirby, a Republican, said the impetus for his letter came after following news reports about New York’s SAFE Act.
    “Seeing that legislation, we just reached out to them saying that Oklahoma is a gun-friendly state,” Kirby said. “We have a lot of empty buildings that would work really great for putting in a manufacturing company.”
    In Michigan, state Sen. Mike Green, Republican, said the state recently passed major reforms to business taxes as well as made changes to workers compensation and unemployment.
    “We’re just a state ready to do business with businesses,” he said.
    Many of the state chambers contacted, however, would not give out information on whether they’ve made specific offers to Remington.
    Mark Feane, executive director of the Herkimer County Industrial Development Agency, said other states attempting to lure Remington Arms — which has been in Ilion for almost 200 years — definitely is cause for concern.
    “Devastation is one word to use on the effect of the local economy,” he said.
    State Sen. James Seward, R - Oneonta, and state Assemblyman Marc Butler, R - Newport, could not immediately be reached for comment.
    Officials of Freedom Group, Inc., the parent company of Remington, have remained mostly tightlipped since the law was passed.
    Meanwhile, Feane said the company continues to hire and take job orders at the Ilion plant.
    “That’s certainly positive news,” he said, adding the agency has reached out to Ilion plant officials. “We’re kind of waiting for them to continue their investigation.”
    The SAFE Act makes New York the first state to outline a stricter definition of assault weapons, which means that semi-automatic pistols and rifles with detachable magazines and one military-style feature are considered assault weapons.
    The act also bans magazines that contain more than seven rounds, requires instant background checks on all ammunition purchases at the time of the sale, and touches on other aspects, such as mental health.
    Jason Conwall, senior press officer for Empire State Development, said he could not comment specifically on Remington, but said the process of companies coming and going in the state vary by case.
    Page 2 of 2 - If a business is going to lay off a significant number of people, Conwall said they have to provide a Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act notice to the federal Department of Labor.
    “They have to give a certain amount of notice for employees to know that something is happening there,” he said.
    Frank “Rusty” Brown, chairman of the Compac Committee and a Remington employee since 1994, said employees haven’t heard anything from company officials on what’s going to happen.
    “No one knows what type of a business decision they would make,” he said. “It makes us a little nervous that there are other states out there that are courting Remington.”

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