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Remington Seeks Bankruptcy Protection As Gun Sales Slide

Remington, which started making flintlock rifles more than 200 years ago, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The company has longstanding ties to upstate New York.

Blame for the gun maker’s fall is being cast on a dramatic drop in firearms sales since Donald Trump was elected president. 

No one is saying what will happen to the 3,500 or so employees at Remington as it reorganizes. Some 900 workers are employed in the Herkimer County village of Ilion. Mayor Terry Leonard learned of the bankruptcy via email.   "It's kinda like the second shoe dropping because this was announced a number of weeks ago that the filing was on its way."

The Madison, North Carolina-based manufacturer laid off 122 workers at the Mohawk Valley plant in March 2017 and another 55 in September.

Area state Assemblyman Marc Butler told WAMC at the time:   "This is simply a reaction to a general down turn in the firearms industry."

According to NPR, guns fly off the shelves when a Democratic president occupies the White House. NPR reports gun manufacturers, believing Hillary Clinton would be elected, ramped up production, which turned out to be a bad decision.

Butler believed Remington, which manufactured its first flintlock rifle in 1816 in upstate New York, would persevere.   "We have been through that here in the Mohawk Valley at Remington Arms. They're up a hundred, they're down two hundred, and every time anything like that happens... it's a bellwether industry, it's a foundation of our economy here, it sends vibrations to every corner of our region. I mean, we have employees, I think they did a survey from eight or nine counties that actually come here to work. But I'm convinced and I've talked to other local officials, we're convinced that there's no massive strategy here, that this is simply the result of a reaction to the more general economy."

Mayor Leonard, who worked 20 years for the company, is optimistic.   "I wanna remain hopeful that the filing is what it says it is, an opportunity to restructure debt and hold off on some creditors while they continue to operate and re-organize."

The Associated Press cites records released by the bankruptcy court of the district of Delaware, which say Remington Outdoor Co. agreed to a prepackaged deal that would give holders of the company's $550 million term loan an 82.5 percent stake.

Third-lien noteholders will take 17.5 percent of Remington and four-year warrants get a 15 percent stake.

Remington, which did not return a call for comment to WAMC, has lined up $100 million from lenders to continue operations.

Dave Lucas is WAMC’s Capital Region Bureau Chief. Born and raised in Albany, he’s been involved in nearly every aspect of local radio since 1981. Before joining WAMC, Dave was a reporter and anchor at WGY in Schenectady. Prior to that he hosted talk shows on WYJB and WROW, including the 1999 series of overnight radio broadcasts tracking the JonBenet Ramsey murder case with a cast of callers and characters from all over the world via the internet. In 2012, Dave received a Communicator Award of Distinction for his WAMC news story "Fail: The NYS Flood Panel," which explores whether the damage from Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee could have been prevented or at least curbed. Dave began his radio career as a “morning personality” at WABY in Albany.
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