After more than 200 years in Ilion, New York, Remington Arms (RemArms) is moving its operations to Georgia, where the firearms industry has more support.

“Two hundred and eight years of history. He’s gone, he’s gone. Ilion is Remington. Remington is Ilion,” Ilion Mayor John Stephens told Fox Business.

Scheduled for March, the transition severs a deeply rooted connection between the company and Ilion, a town about 230 miles northwest of New York City. Residents and employees are mourning the impending move, and retired Remington worker Jim Conover and technician Frank “Rusty” Brown expressed the emotional and financial void the departure will leave. Brown, whose family ties to Remington span generations, faces the reality of job loss as does his wife and other family members.

The factory closure will displace approximately 300 workers in a city of approximately 7,600 residents, precipitating a $1 million revenue shortfall for Ilion and adverse impacts on local businesses.

“It’s like the city is losing its soul,” Stephens said. “It’s almost like losing a family member. That’s what people struggle with: nostalgia, history. It seems that we are losing the identity of the town.”

Remington’s challenges have included financial difficulties, which led to bankruptcy filings in 2018 and 2020, and a $73 million settlement in 2022 related to the Sandy Hook mass shooting in Newton, Connecticut.

Political figures such as Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y., and Republican state Sen. Mark Walczyk criticized New York’s strict gun laws, arguing that the regulations contributed to Remington’s decision to relocate. The state’s gun industry liability law, in particular, has been a point of contention, blamed for driving the company out of New York.

RemArms CEO Ken D’Arcy expressed excitement about the move to Georgia, noting the state’s business-friendly climate and strong support for the firearms industry. Georgia has established itself as a gun-friendly state, with policies and a business environment that supports the defense and firearms manufacturing sectors. In recent years, Georgia has become a top gun manufacturing state, attracting companies thanks to its skilled workforce, strong infrastructure, and significant population of hunting enthusiasts.

The move is part of a broader trend of gun makers leaving the Northeast for southern states, exemplified by the relocation of Smith & Wesson Brand Inc. from Massachusetts to Tennessee.

As Remington transitions to its new home in Georgia, the Ilion community faces the departure of a historic cornerstone and economic pillar, reflecting the intricate relationship between industry decisions, regulatory environments and the fabric of local communities.

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This article ‘It’s like the city is losing its soul’: The country’s oldest gun manufacturer is leaving New York and moving its operations to more caring state Georgia: ‘208 years of history. Gone, Gone’ originally appeared on Benzinga.com

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By Sam