Remington, nation’s oldest gunmaker, to move global HQ to Georgia

Remington, the nation’s oldest firearms manufacturer, said Monday that it will move its global headquarters to the Georgia city of LaGrange and open a manufacturing facility and research center to design and produce the company’s guns.

The gunmaker plans to spend $100 million and create about 850 jobs in Troup County over the next five years, Gov. Brian Kemp said. The company said in a statement that several of its “strategic products” will be made in Georgia, though it’s not immediately clear which weapons will be manufactured in the state.

The company’s roots date to 1816, when it began pumping out flintlock rifles as American pioneers fueled the nation’s westward expansion. But the gunmaker fell into financial turmoil in recent years, with slumping sales and legal scrutiny over the Sandy Hook school massacre sparking a downturn.

Remington filed for bankruptcy in March 2018 and then again in July 2020 after negotiations to find a buyer broke down with the Navajo Nation. Even as gun sales soared amid pandemic-related uncertainty and GOP concerns about new firearms restrictions, the company struggled to regain its financial footing.

The iconic gunmaker was broken up and sold to seven different firms in a late 2020 auction, with rival companies snapping up different ammunition, shotgun and long gun businesses. Remington Firearms, which makes several lines of rifles, shotguns and handguns, is the portion of the firm relocating to Georgia.

It’s not immediately known what incentives the state offered to woo the gunmaker, which was based in Ilion, New York and has operations in Tennessee. Officials said Remington will hire for positions in production, operations, engineering, management, finance and administrative work.

The gunmaker could claim a range of state incentives that include an income tax break worth nearly $13 million over five years. Scott Malone, a LaGrange economic development official, said the company has already leased a building at a local business park and plans to build several new facilities in the next five years. He said local officials have also offered Remington an unspecified tax abatement and infrastructure improvements.

In a statement welcoming the company, Kemp noted that he owns several Remington guns and said the industry sustained thousands of jobs in Georgia. A wave of firearms manufacturers have recently fled the Northeast for more politically hospitable environments in Georgia and elsewhere around the South.

“As yet another big manufacturing win for our state, I look forward to seeing the oldest firearms manufacturer in America thrive in Georgia’s pro-business environment,” Kemp said.

The first-term Republican made gun rights expansion a key part of his 2018 election campaign, including an attention-grabbing TV ad that showed him aiming a firearm toward “Jake,” one of his daughter’s would-be suitors. He also has called for a sales tax holiday for guns and ammunition over the July Fourth holiday.

Georgia is home to several gun manufacturers, including a Taurus plant in South Georgia. Remington Chief Executive Ken D’Arcy credited Georgia’s pro-gun atmosphere for his decision, saying the state “not only welcomes business but enthusiastically supports and welcomes companies in the firearms industry.”

“Everyone involved in this process has shown how important business is to the state and how welcoming they are to all business, including the firearms industry,” D’Arcy said.

Although Remington’s brand is storied among firearms enthusiasts, the company has been targeted with dozens of product liability lawsuits over certain bolt-action rifle and shotgun models that had design defects. Many were settled out of court.

The company has also come under immense financial and political pressure after the gunman in the 2012 massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, used a Remington-made rifle to kill 20 children and six adults.

Nine of the families of the victims have sued the gunmaker, claiming the weapon shouldn’t have been marketed for civilian use. Remington, which maintains it’s immune from lawsuits over crimes committed with its products, has offered a $33 million settlement to the victims’ families.