Updated 01/17/2013 05:58 PM
Herkimer County politicians speak on keeping Remington
The new restrictions on assault rifles in New York State have caused some in Herkimer County to worry about the future of one of the nation's largest gun manufacturers and a major local employer: Remington Arms. YNN's Andrew Sorensen tells us what the area's politicians plan to do to keep the company around.
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HERKIMER COUNTY, N.Y. -- In Ilion, like most of Herkimer County, guns and Remington Arms are a way of life.
"The Arms is (sic) their livelihood," explained Herkimer County Legislator Ray Johnson.
There's even an elementary school named after the gun giant.
"With 1,300 employees at the Arms right now, there's a lot of people wondering what's going on," Johnson said.
That's about one-sixth the population of the village, so a lot of people aren't happy about New York's new gun laws.
"The governor talks about economic development, but he seems to be wanting to crush one of our biggest economic developers going right now in my district," Johnson said.
Senator James Seward, who deals with Remington often, addressed some of the county's politicians Thursday. He said the company may be looking to move away from a gun-hostile environment and the state's trajectory isn't giving them hope for another outcome.
Assemblyman Marc Butler said, "During the debate the other day, we were already hearing from some of our colleagues that this is only a start, this is only a step, that we need to look at more legislation."
Seward said he hopes to change the conversation in talks with Remington next week to recoup sales in New York.
He'd like them to, "Just make changes in their product line to accommodate the new legislation."
But he's not getting a whole lot of backing outside of Herkimer County in trying to keep Remington tied down.
On Wednesday, the state comptroller said he'd like to potentially divest state pension funds from gun manufacturers.
"I think it's totally inappropriate and counterproductive to our efforts to retain and create jobs in New York State," Seward said.
Ultimately, the fate of the plant could depend on what happens at the federal level, but in the meantime, Seward and other delegates from the area say they hope to convince the state to support Remington while they try to convince the company to stay.
We have put several requests for comment out to Remington this week and have not yet heard back.