Gun Makers May Leave if N.Y. and Conn. Pass Microstamping Laws

By:  Jack Kenny
08/27/2012
       
Gun Makers May Leave if N.Y. and Conn. Pass Microstamping Laws

 Executives of the historic firearms companies on America's East Coast may not all be young men, but they might want to follow Horace Greeley's advice, anyway. They may want to go west if legislators in New York and Connecticut pass laws that would limit their sales while driving up their costs.

Executives of the historic firearms companies on America's East Coast may not all be young men, but they might want to follow Horace Greeley's advice, anyway. They may want to go west if legislators pass laws that would limit their sales while driving up their costs.

That could be the fate of the Remington Arms Company plant in Ilion, New York, the economic lifeblood of the small New York town lying halfway between Albany and Syracuse. The company's roots in the town go back nearly 200 years, since Eliphalet Remington, Jr. forged his first rifle barrel there. Today the company employs about 1,000 workers in a town with a population of just over 8,000. But the company has suggested, none too subtly, that it may move its Ilion plant to another state if Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the state's lawmakers enact gun legislation now under consideration in Albany.

The proposals, the New York Times reported Friday, include a limit in firearms sales of no more than one per month to any one person and a background check of anyone purchasing ammunition. Most troubling to the manufacturers, however, is a plan to require, for the purpose of ballistics identification, the microstamping of every semiautomatic pistol sold in the state. The law would require manufacturers to laser-engrave the gun's make, model, and serial number on the firing pin of each handgun so the information is imprinted on the cartridge casing when the gun is fired. Gun makers say the method is flawed, could easily be defeated, and would require a retooling of the industry that would add what Remington executive Stephen P. Jackson, Jr. called "astronomical sums" to the cost of manufacturing.

"Mandating [f]irearms microstamping will restrict the ability of Remington to expand business in the Empire State," Jackson, the company's chief strategy and acquisition integration officer, wrote in a March 16 letter to Governor Cuomo. "Worse yet, Remington could be forced to reconsider its commitment to the New York market altogether rather than spend the astronomical sums of money needed to completely reconfigure our manufacturing and assembly processes. This would directly impact law enforcement, firearms retailers and consumers throughout New York — if not the entire country.

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