Ever since state legislators passed the New York Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement Act of 2013 in response to the tragic Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, the outdoor industry has been waiting for the other shoe to fall.
Commonly referred to as the SAFE Act, the legislation has been widely opposed by both the public and the police. Within weeks of the bill's passage, 52 of New York's 62 counties had passed official resolutions in direct opposition to the act.
Several counties actually even directed their local law enforcement officials not to enforce the SAFE Act within their jurisdictions. It remains a controversial topic.
The law was passed by the state Senate on Monday, Jan. 14, and was swiftly approved by the Assembly on Tuesday, Jan. 15. It was signed into law by Gov. Andrew Cuomo on the very same day.
The legislation, often described as the "toughest" gun control law in the United States, has been widely panned as a political knee-jerk reaction.
Although numerous sportsman's groups, rod and gun clubs and fish and game organizations have denounced the legislation as a violation of the Second Amendment, the SAFE Act remains intact.
In June of 2013, there was still smoke in the air over the passage of the SAFE Act, when manufacturer Serbu Firearms refused to sell their model BFG-50A semi-automatic .50 caliber rifles to the New York City Police Department because the guns had been classified as an assault rifle.
Soon after, Kahr Firearms Group of Pearl River, was the first NY-based gun manufacturer to announce they would be jumping ship. Kahr Arms, well known for manufacturing slim, lightweight pistols designed for concealed carry, announced their intention to leave New York as a result of the passage of the SAFE Act.
A company spokesman revealed Kahr couldn't stay in a state that was so hostile to gun rights. The company, known for its high-quality handguns, had been close to finalizing a deal to purchase land in Orange County, where they intended to expand their manufacturing operations. They had previously announced plans to build a new factory which would have created 80 to 100 jobs within five years.
With plants in Worcester, Mass., and Pillager, Minn., the company wanted to develop additional facilities in the northeast. Sales are currently in the $75 to $100 million range.
At the time, Frank Harris, Kahr's vice president for sales and marketing had explained, "We were looking for a more friendly environment for our business. Why take a chance when we can be in a state where they're not looking to cause us any problems?"
The company has since announced they will be moving their New York headquarters, as well as a new manufacturing facility to Pike County, Penn.
In October of 2013, American Tactical Imports announced their decision to relocate their manufacturing base from Rochester to Summerville, S.C. The company is well known for providing tactical weapons, including AR frames and other aftermarket accessories that are often considered consistent with assault rifles.
ATI's relocation has already provided a boost to the state as South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley recently explained, "We celebrate American Tactical Imports' decision to invest $2.7 million and create 117 new jobs in Dorchester. The announcement is another testament that South Carolina is a destination for job-creating investments."
The decision to move American Tactical Imports will create 117 new jobs in the state and provide an investment of $2.7 million to Dorchester County.
ATI, one of the nation's top importers of firearms and firearm related products was welcomed with open arms. Their new South Carolina location will provide the company with unique channels of distribution as they seek to become a single-source provider for a variety of manufacturers from all over the world.
Fast on the tail of firearms companies that have been fleeing New York state like rats from a sinking ship, comes the landmark announcement that Remington Arms Company of Illion, NY will be expanding in a move to to Huntsville, Ala. It is expected the expansion to Huntsville will create more than 2,000 new jobs within the next 10 years.
Remington Arms Company, a landmark Mohawk Valley manufacturer was founded in 1816 by Eliphalet Remington in Ilion, and the company has been the foundation of a historic manufacturing industry in the region ever since.
For nearly two centuries, Remington Firearms have been responsible for putting "Adirondack Beef" on the menu of many North Country hunting camps.
Fortunately, the company has announced they will continue to operate their current facilities in Illion, which remain a cornerstone of the region's manufacturing base.
Remington's parent company, the North Carolina-based Freedom Group was awarded a major contract in 2013. The contract, worth nearly $50 million, requires the company to provide the Philippine defense forces with 50,000 R4 carbine rifles by the end of next year.
According to industry reports, the Remington Outdoor Company has also made significant improvements with ammunition facility expansions and firearm capacity growth. They have been awarded several highly competitive military and law enforcement contracts.
Remington Outdoor includes some of the most globally recognized brands on the market including Remington, Remington 1816, Bushmaster Firearms, DPMS/Panther Arms, Marlin, H&R, The Parker Gun, Mountain Khakis, Advanced Armament Corp., Dakota Arms, Para USA, Nesika, Storm Lake and Barnes Bullets.
The company has also introduced a series of new products, including Ultimate Defense Handgun Ammunition and the 783 bolt action rifle.
Bolstered by record sales and numerous new products, the company decided to expand their operations to Alabama, which provides a distribution network via a variety of shipping ports.
According to Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley, "The move will create more than 2,000 jobs in Huntsville, and it reflects a statewide capital investment of $110 million. Our relationship with Remington is just beginning. I am honored to welcome Remington to Alabama."
Jim Shepherd, editor of "The Shooting Wire," claimed the motivation for Remington's big move may be a response to the passage of New York's SAFE act which has created an environment that was just too-toxic to tolerate for an American firearms company.
According to Shepard, following the announcement a Remington rep remarked, "If you do business in a place with onerous regulations against you and your customers, or a highly unionized workforce, or a government that was constantly trying to regulate you out of business, you'd probably consider moving. When you have all three, well, would you want to stay?"
It appears the other shoe may have finally fallen!