Calls for Stricter Gun Laws Worry Ilion, N.Y., Built by Remington
This is the town that Remington built.
Almost 200 years ago, a young man named Eliphalet Remington Jr. forged his first rifle barrel at his father’s ironworks here in the Mohawk Valley. These days, the Remington Arms factory in this village, midway between Albany and Syracuse, is one of the few large manufacturers still prospering in a part of upstate New York that was once filled with them.
But now residents of Ilion, a community whose history and economy are indelibly linked to one of America’s more celebrated gunmakers, are starting to worry about Remington’s future. The recent mass shootings at a screening of “The Dark Knight Rises” in Colorado and at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin have galvanized advocates of tougher gun laws in Albany, and Remington has made it clear that such laws could prompt it to leave New York for a more sympathetic state.
While elsewhere the debate over gun control includes talk of balancing constitutional rights with public safety, here residents are most concerned with a little-discussed element of the gun industry: economics.
Diana Bower, who owns a small engineering business with her husband, a onetime engineer at the Remington plant, said politicians pressing for new gun laws — many of them from New York City — did not realize what was at stake upstate. For example, company officials have said one proposal under consideration would require costly plant retooling.
“If you don’t live here and work here,” Ms. Bower said, “you really don’t know what it means to say, ‘Pass this,’ or, ‘Pass that.’ ”