December 6, 2023
Last year, families of nine victims reached a $73 million settlement in their lawsuit against Remington.
After a 2022 settlement over its culpability in the shooting deaths of children at Sandy Hook Elementary, RemArms, formerly the Remington Arms Company, will be closing one of its original gun manufacturing facilities, in Ilion, New York.
The families of nine victims reached a $73 million settlement in their lawsuit against Remington, the manufacturer of the rifle responsible for the 2012 incident which claimed the lives of 20 first graders and six educators.
According to The Hill, the company had been dealing with financial issues even before the settlement, declaring bankruptcy twice. The Sandy Hook settlement represents the first time a gun manufacturer was held financially responsible for its role in a mass shooting.
This was possible due to a specific Connecticut trade law, which families of the slain children argued that Remington had skirted while marketing its AR-15 Bushmaster rifle to a high-risk population through marketing campaigns and first-person shooter video games, The Guardian reported.
According to the Rockefeller Institute, Remington had been in a precarious financial position long before the settlement: “Contrary to initial impressions, the company’s financial problems and ultimate dissolution predate, and were mostly unrelated to, Sandy Hook and the lawsuit, but instead to the company’s purchase by a private equity firm, Cerberus, in 2007.”
It was this deal that set into motion the events that led to the company choosing to close its historically significant factory.
In a letter obtained by the Observer-Dispatch, Remington communicated to its employees its intentions to close the factory in March 2024, The Hill reports.
“I am writing to inform you that RemArms, LLC (“the Company”) has decided to close its entire operations at 14 Hoefler Avenue, Ilion, NY 13357 (the “Ilion Facility”),” the letter reads. “The Company expects that operations at the Ilion Facility will conclude on or about March 4, 2024. The Company did not arrive at this decision lightly.”
Curiously, the company revealed to The Hill via an auto-response email that it intends to open a new factory in Georgia, which could mean that the company’s choice to close the factory could also be motivated by a recently passed law in New York that allows for individuals to file lawsuits against firearms manufacturers that “knowingly or recklessly” market and distribute products that have the effect of posing a danger to public health or safety.
Lawyers representing the interests of gun manufacturers attempted to argue against the law in November to the Second Court of Appeals, Gothamist reports. New York’s law is the first of its kind in the country, as it allows individuals to sue gun manufacturers directly for contributions to gun violence, which includes mass shooting events.
The United Mine Workers of America International President Cecil Roberts said in a press release responding to the closure of the New York factory, “We urge RemArms LLC to reconsider this decision and explore alternative solutions that would allow the Ilion plant to remain operational. The extensive cleanup for abandoning this plant could potentially cost the town of Ilion and the state of New York a massive amount of money.” Roberts continued, “As the affected workers and their families face an uncertain future, the UMWA rallies behind them, offering support and solidarity.”
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