The governor's proposal to ban assault weapons in the wake of recent tragedies has left employees and the Ilion community concerned about the fate of the gun maker. The village of Ilion held a Town Hall Meeting to discuss job retention at Remington Arms.
"I've been here 14 years, I'm 2nd generation," says Frank "Rusty" Brown, Remington Arms employee.
"I started in 1965 and I had 38 years before I retired," says William Keeler, Remington Arms retiree.
One by one, dozens of Remington employees and state lawmakers take the podium.
In addition to banning assault weapons, the governor's proposal limits the gun capacity of bullets and enacts tougher background checks on sales. Remington has threatened to leave our state and some worry the consequences if they follow through. (Remington Arms threatened to pull out of Ilion earlier this year, when the assembly approved a bill to require implant codes on shell casings, that would identify bullets to the guns that fired them, a process called microstamping. The state senate hasn't voted on the bill yet.)
"Without Remington, we're not going to be able to survive here," says Keeler.
"Ilion is done. People don't understand the economic impact of Remington, they really don't," says Brown.
With nearly 1,400 people employed at Remington Arms, most agree that this isn't just about gun control. This is about jobs, families and livelihood.
"I was able to get married in this valley, raise my kids in this valley," says Keeler.
"My parents raised me on Remington, I raised my kids on Remington, and now my kids are raising their grand-kids on Remington," says Brown.
And dozens more share a history with Frank Brown and William Keeler. Keeler says he just hopes recent tragedies won't hinder the fate of an entire workforce.
"I was able to retire and have what I call the good life, and I would like my co-workers to be able to do the same thing some day," says Keeler.
Area lawmakers and about 30 Remington Arms employees left for Albany this morning to talk with officials about the devastating effect our community would see if assault weapons were banned in the state.