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Gun maker should consider Wilson, says official

Sara McManamy-Johnson • Updated Aug 30, 2013 at 5:11 PM

Wilson County would be an ideal location for gun manufacturer Remington Arms, said one offical.

G.C. Hixson, executive director for the Joint Economic and Development Board of Wilson County, said he could not confirm or deny whether the storied company is considering the move.

A Nashville newspaper last week reported that officials from Remington Arms were scouting potential locations around Middle Tennessee, including sites in Lebanon, near the Nashville airport and in Clarksville.

“If they’re looking in Middle Tennessee, we would be a prime location,” said Hixson, who cited the types of buildings available as well as the available workforce in Wilson County as key advantages for the company.

Hixson said that as a general rule he does not discuss potential projects because most companies require confidentiality agreements.

The Tennessean cited “people familiar with Remington’s exploration of sites,” as the source of information.

According to The Times Union, of Albany, N.Y., the report came as a surprise to New York politicians and residents of the Herkimer County, N.Y., community where Remington has its largest plant.

Key lawmakers in New York said they didn't believe the company, which employs about 1,200 people in Ilion, N.Y., is looking to leave New York. That’s despite the SAFE Act gun control measure that bans some of Remington’s products in the state.

“They immediately told me this is what they do,” said Republican Assemblywoman Claudia Tenney, referring to periodic visits to potential locations in other states. “But they are committed to the employees in Ilion,” which is in Tenney’s assembly district.

“Every indication that I’ve had is that the company is committed to the Ilion site,” added GOP Sen. Jim Seward, who said that “my constituents in Herkimer County have been emailing me and have been on the phone” since the news broke.

Like Tenney, he said large corporations such as Remington frequently visit potential business locations.

Seward noted that Remington has launched a $20 million equipment upgrade at the Ilion plant.

Representatives of Remington, which is headquartered in North Carolina, didn’t return calls from The Democrat or the Times Union seeking comment.

Hixson said a move to Middle Tennessee would be advantageous for the arms manufacturer for several reasons, not least of which is the gun-friendly climate in the area. Earlier this year, New York lawmakers banned Remington’s Bushmaster semiautomatic weapon, which is manufactured in Ilion, N.Y., under the New York Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement Act.

Rick Karlin of the Times Union (Albany, N.Y.) contributed to this report via MCT.

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