ALBANY — New York state has spent nearly $6 million over the past three years on subsidies for a two-century-old upstate factory that makes firearms including semiautomatic rifles used by the military and police and like those used in the recent killings in Webster and Connecticut.
Though several elected leaders in this tough-on-guns state want tighter restrictions on those military-style weapons, none say it’s time to stop supporting Remington Arms Co. and risk the nearly 1,000 jobs it provides in the central New York community of Ilion. The gunmaker has plenty of defenders, particularly those who support the continued manufacture of weapons used by the military or police.
In 2010, Empire State Development, the agency that works with private companies to attract and retain jobs, announced $2.5 million in grants and subsidies to help Remington bring its Marlin lever-action gun production from Connecticut to Ilion and add 100 jobs. That followed two grants in 2009 worth $3 million for renovations and machinery.
‘It was never the desire of the state of New York to subsidize the development of the sort of tactical weapons that ended up being used in Connecticut and now, I understand, in upstate New York as well,’ said Assemblyman Charles Lavine, a Long Island Democrat. ‘By tactical weapons, I’m talking about a rifle such as the Bushmaster.’
In early 2011, Bushmaster Firearms moved manufacturing operations from Windham, Maine, to Ilion, where Remington now makes Bushmaster guns. No state money was used in that transfer, which brought more than 40 jobs.
Police said Bushmaster military-style rifles were used to kill 20 elementary school children and seven adults in Newtown, Conn., and to kill two volunteer firefighters and seriously wound two others Monday when they responded to a blaze in Webster.
Police have not said where the guns used in the shootings were manufactured. It’s possible they were made in Maine before operations moved to New York; Remington also has one other production plant in Hickory, Ky., according to the company’s website.