Cuomo Spokesman: “No Remington Jobs Are Leaving NY”

Rich Azzopardi, who some describe as “Ewok-like”, has been the spokesman for Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D-NY) since 2012. Yesterday he went on Twitter to try and deflect from some of the attention the Remington expansion in Alabama is getting.

In the strictest sense of the word, New York may not be losing any jobs – for now. In the short-term, it will take some time before Huntsville is up and running. However, as the production lines begin to come online in Huntsville and the cost per unit of production starts to decrease compared to Ilion, just how long do you realistically think Remington Outdoor Company will wait before shifting production lines south?

The Ilion, New York plant will become for Remington what the East Alton, Illinois plant has become for Winchester: an aging albatross of a building with a highly unionized workforce in a state whose politics is dominated by the gun prohibitionists. While you may leave some production there because of specialty machines and craftsmen, the bulk of it is eventually going to shift to the newer plant.

California Carry Licenses Could Reach 1.4 Million In First Year

The CalGuns Foundation has calculated that the number of carry licenses in California could reach as high as 1.4 million if the Peruta decision stands and California goes “shall issue”.

Following the Ninth Circuit decision holding “good cause” requirements unconstitutional, The Calguns Foundation projects that the number of California carry licensees will skyrocket during the first year of effective “shall-issue” licensing.

According to data sent to The Calguns Foundation by the California Department of Justice, the number of California CCW licensees in 2013 totaled about 56,000. However, in applying projections to state and county population figures from the state’s Department of Finance, Calguns believes that the number of licensees in California might reach as high as 1.4 million in the Golden State during the first year of a “shall issue” system.

 They have calculated the growth of carry licenses on a county-by-county basis which can be seen here.  Their table provides estimates for a range from one to five percent of a county’s population with the expectation that two percent will be the most likely. CalGuns has used available census statistics, California Department of Justice statistics on both carry licenses and firearms purchases, and the experience of other states to make this projections.

Looking this over, it is is interesting to look at the table to see what might transpire in some of the more anti-gun counties. For instance, San Franciso County might grow from two carry permits to an estimated 12,707 at the 2% level. While San Francisco is the most extreme example, many other counties could see multiple 1,000% increases such as LA which could see an 88,000% increase in carry permits at the 2% level.

You have to wonder if the state’s anti-gun politicians might moderate their extremism if they suddenly found a good number of their constituents had carry licenses. It is easy to demonize a group of people when you only have a few examples like the two who have carry licenses in San Francisco County. It is much harder to do if you have substantial numbers and everyone knows someone with a carry license.

First Official Confirmation On Remington Expansion

The first official confirmation that Remington plans to expand to Huntsville, Alabama comes from Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL). Prior to this, all reports have had to say that “an announcement is expected” because “high level sources” “have confirmed it”.  I sincerely doubt a senator would make such a release unless it was a done deal.

From Sessions’ Senate homepage:

WASHINGTON—U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) issued the following statement today after Remington Arms announced plans to open a plant in Huntsville:

“Remington’s decision is great news and a further testament to the world class workforce in Huntsville. This plant will create good-paying manufacturing jobs for thousands of workers. We warmly welcome Remington Arms and look forward to their success and presence for years to come.”

While Gov. Robert Bentley (R-AL) did allude to it when asked, all he said was “I think Monday you’ll see something very special in the state.” That is a lot more nebulous than Sessions’ comment.

The Effects Of The NY SAFE Act Coming Home To Roost

The backers of the New York SAFE Act said the law would make New Yorkers safer. About the only thing I can see that it has done is to cost good, hard working New Yorkers their jobs.

This view is shared by Fran Madore, President of United Mine Workers Local 717. The union represents the overwhelming majority of the workers at Remington’s Ilion, New York plant.

A union official said Saturday the Remington Arms Co.’s decision to open a manufacturing plant in Alabama does not bode well for Ilion, and he’s blaming New York’s SAFE Act restrictions on assault weapons.

“It can’t be good,” said Fran Madore, president of United Mine Workers Local 717, which represents 1,180 of the 1,300 Remington employees in Ilion. “How can it be good?”

Madore said plant officials told him they wanted to meet with him Monday. They did not say what they wanted to talk about, but Madore said he assumes it will be about the company’s reported plans to open a 500,000-square-foot manufacturing plant in Huntsville, Ala.

In his interview with the Syracuse Post-Standard, Madore goes on to say that the NY SAFE Act crippled them and that he is worried that jobs will lost in Ilion.

I think Mr. Madore has good reason to be worried.

Is Remington Going To Alabama (With A Banjo On Its Knee)? (Updated)

Rob Curtis at the Military Times’ GearScout blog is reporting this afternoon that Remington Outdoor Company aka Freedom Group will be building a new plant in Huntsville, Alabama. This new plant is reported to be equivalent in production capacity to their Ilion, NY plant. However, this new plant will supplement but not replace the Ilion plant.

Remington Outdoor Co., previously known as the Freedom Group, expects to announce a major expansion to a new facility in Huntsville, Ala., as early as next week. According to two sources with knowledge of the property sale, the deal has been in the works for months and ROC executives plan to sign the papers Monday finalizing the sale of a 500,000-square-foot facility that will add approximately 25 percent more space to Remington’s existing 2.1 million square feet of existing manufacturing real estate.

Sources say the expansion was undertaken to help the company meet unprecedented demand for its products. Space in the facility is not currently earmarked for any one of the company’s 18 individual brands, but to facilitate flexibility and growth of the Remington Outdoor Company.

Before settling on Hunstville, the company was courted by no less than 24 states and various localities hoping to add hundreds of new jobs to their economies. State and local entities in Alabama made economic concessions to attract the company, sources say. The selection of the Huntsville area makes sense, with a skilled and technical workforce already in place. The area is home to the Army’s Redstone Arsenal, which has 35,000 military and civilian employees.

Other major technical employers in the area, such as NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center, and Toyota, ensure ROC will have a large pool of talent to draw upon for its engineering, technical manufacturing and product development efforts. The fact that Alabama is regarded as a strong supporter of Second Amendment rights also played a role in the selection of the area.

More on this move by Remington at the GearScout blog found here. 

UPDATE: According to the Alabama-oriented website and blog Yellowhammer, the announcement will be made on Monday about the move by Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley (R-AL).

High level sources have informed Yellowhammer News that Remington, one of the world’s largest gun manufacturers, will on Monday join Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley in announcing that they are bringing over 2,000 jobs to Alabama.

The company is viewing the move into Alabama as an expansion, but it will likely impact their Ilion, NY plant as well. The New York facility currently employees around 1,200 people. It is expected to stay open, but with a reduced workforce.

“The company is making the move as an expansion of capacity, production and research,” a source told Yellowhammer on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly. “The demand for Remington products has skyrocketed recently, for obvious reasons, so they need to increase their production capacity. They will be expanding their research capabilities with the Alabama plant, too.”

The initial estimated impact on Alabama’s economy will be roughly $87 million.

 The name of the website with the above information combined with the loss for New York reminds me of that famous University of Alabama cheer which I’ll paraphrase:

Hey Tigers   New York
Hey Tigers   Cuomo
We just beat the hell outta you!
Rammer Jammer Yellowhammer
Give ’em hell Alabama

H/T Bitter on the Yellowhammer story. 

UPDATE II: Phil White, in comments to a post regarding the probable move to Huntsville, says that Remington will occupy the former Chrysler Acustar/Siemens/Continental plant adjacent to the Huntsville International Airport. The property has a 570,000 sq. ft.  manufacturing facility and a 200,000+ sq. ft. research facility. The video below is a sales promo for the property. It looks like Remington is getting a facility upon which they can build a future unlike their Ilion, NY plant.

CalGuns Foundation On Peruta Decision

The CalGuns Foundation released a statement yesterday evening on the win in the 9th Circuit yesterday. They congratulated the NRA, the California Rifle and Pistol Association, attorney Paul Clement, and California gun law firm Michel & Associates for their work that led to this win for Ed Peruta and the other plaintiffs. If the NRA hadn’t stepped in when they did, this could have turned into a terrible loss for the Second Amendment in California.  The CalGuns statement does give a little bit of the back story on this case.

From CalGuns Foundation:

California takes a step towards “shall-issue” handgun carry licensing

In a major decision today, the federal Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals held that California’s “good cause” requirement for handgun carry licenses violates the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution.

In May 2009, during a short period when the federal Second Amendment legally applied to California through the Ninth Circuit’s Nordyke v. King decision, civil rights attorneys Alan Gura and Donald Kilmer filed a federal right-to-carry lawsuit against Sacramento County’s then-sheriff John McGinness and Yolo County Sheriff Ed Prieto on behalf of The Calguns Foundation (CGF), the Second Amendment Foundation (SAF), and a number of individual plaintiffs. That lawsuit, then named Sykes v. McGinness, challenged the California statutes requiring “good cause” and “good moral character” as facially unconstitutional. The Sykes case also challenged the two sheriffs’ local policies as unconstitutional “as-applied” to the individual plaintiffs’ facts. Sacramento County eventually settled out of the lawsuit by agreeing to implement a “shall-issue” policy; the case continued against Yolo County and Yolo County Sheriff Ed Prieto as Richards v. Prieto.

Months after the Sykes case was filed, a lawsuit that replicated the CGF/SAF lawsuit was filed in San Diego County by Mr. Edward Peruta. Thankfully, the National Rifle Association intervened in the Peruta matter, adding new plaintiffs and significant resources to the case’s legal team including noted civil rights law firm Michel & Associates as well as former Solicitor General Paul Clement. The Peruta case result today is due in large part to the strength of the arguments mirrored from the Sykes lawsuit as well as the excellent legal work by Michel & Associates and Mr. Clement.

Though the Richards and Peruta cases were heard by the same three judge Ninth Circuit panel on the same day, the Court has only released its opinion on the Peruta matter so far. We look forward to the Court’s Richards decision and continuing our efforts to ensure that all law-abiding Californians have an accessible way to fully exercise their right to bear arms for self-defense.

The Calguns Foundation thanks the National Rifle Association, California Rifle & Pistol Association, Michel & Associates, and Mr. Paul Clement for their fantastic work to advance the fundamental Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms and congratulates them on their very important victory for all law-abiding Californians.

For more on these cases and the legal status of the right to bear arms (carry) in California, please visit

When Biathlon Rifles Really Could Be Used For “Military Patrol”

Long before biathlon competitors used .22 rifles with exotic stocks made by Anschutz or Izhmash and with bolt assemblies reminiscent of Formula One shifters, there were Mausers, Mosin-Nagants, and Winchester Model 70s. Indeed the first Olympic biathlon held in 1924 in Chamonix, France was called “military patrol”.

Olympic biathlon competition as a medal sport would return until the 1960 Squaw Valley Olympic Games. The competitors in these games would also use bolt action rifles in center-fire calibers. They would fire 20 shots – 5 each at 200m, 250m, 150m, and 100m – with the first three series being fired prone with the last series being fired standing. Indeed, it wasn’t until 1978 that the governing body changed the course of fire to 50m with a .22 LR rifle. The 1980 Lake Placid Olympics were the first to feature the new rules.

The military is where many of the competitors got their start. The US Army had the Modern Winter Biathlon Training Center at Ft. Richardson, Alaska and the early US teams were filled with men who had trained there in the Army. Even today, the US Army National Guard maintains a biathlon training center at Camp Ethan Allen

So it should not be surprising that many of the biathlon rifles from the earlier era were derived from the standard military rifles of the various countries. Given the history of winter warfare and ski troops in Scandinavia and the former Soviet Union these rifles are concentrated in those countries. The American competitors, by contrast, are reported to have used the Winchester Model 70 in .243 Winchester and .308 Winchester.

The Swedes developed the CG-62 biathlon rifle from their Mausers in 6.5×55. The CG, of course, stands for Carl Gustav which was the primary manufacturer of the Swedish Army’s rifles. Before this rifle they used cut down and modified M96 Mausers. Examples of the CG-62 are shown below with the bottom picture being a variant of the AG-42 Ljungmann turned into a biathlon rifle. You can read more about the history of these Swedish rifles on these threads.

With both Finland and the Soviet Union having tons and tons of Mosin Nagants on hand, it is not surprising that they became the base rifle for their biathlon rifles.

The Finns developed the M-N M28-57 for their biathlon rifle. Chambered in the usual 7.62x54R cartridge, it appears to be a cut down version of the M28-30 with micrometer sights added. The latter rifle was used extensively by the Civil Guards in rifle competitions. The M28-57 can be seen below.

 The Finns later adopted a Sako Forester (L579), cut for stripper clips,with a heavy barrel and micrometer sights for biathlon. While I can’t find a picture of this rifle, it is my understanding it was chambered in .243 Winchester.

The Soviets took their adaptation of the Mosin Nagant for biathlon competition even a step further by developing a new round for it. While similar to the Finnish rifle, the Soviet Vostok was chambered in both the usual 7.62x54R and the 6.5x54R. The latter is a necked down version of the 7.62x54R.

Pictures of the rifle and 6.5x54R cartridge can be seen below.

Finally, we have that other Scandinavian biathlon power – Norway. To the best of my knowledge, Norwegian athletes used a modified Mauser M59. The unmodified version can be seen below. These rifles were made by Kongsberg Våpenhistoriske Forening (Kongsberg Small Arms Factory). According to their website, they made a limited number of these just for biathletes. While the M59 was originally chambered in .30-06, later versions were chambered in both 7.62×51 and 6.5×55. It would be my guess that the biathlon team used the 6.5×55 round.

Another view of the rifles used can be seen in this picture from the 1962 Norwegian Biathlon championships. It definitely looks similar to the M59 above. The Digitalt Museum has a whole series of photos from that event here.

Germany, both East and West, were solid competitors in biathlon. Unfortunately, the only thing I can find is a stamp from the DDR (East German) showing a biathlete shooting. Other than being a bolt action rifle with target sights, who knows. I wouldn’t be surprised if they used the Vostok or Mosin Nagant variant used by the Soviets.

I am sure that there may be other purpose-built center-fire biathlon rifles out there but I think I’ve covered quite a few of them.

NRA-ILA On Peruta Decision

The NRA-ILA released this on the decision released today in Peruta v. San Diego saying that “good cause” cannot be used as a criterion for issuance of a carry permit. The case was argued in the 9th Circuit by former Solicitor General Paul Clement.

Fairfax, VA – The United States Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit today ruled in favor of the right of law-abiding citizens in California to carry a firearm outside the home for self-defense. California law allows local governments to issue concealed and open carry permits, but generally prohibits the carriage of handguns in public places. The San Diego County Sheriff’s office further restricts gun permits only to law-abiding citizens who can prove “good cause,” meaning they have to show they faced a specific threat to their safety above what the general public faces.

The court ruled San Diego County’s gun regulation scheme unconstitutional. Under the ruling, law-abiding citizens in California would be allowed to carry a handgun for self-defense in public places, not just in their homes.

In addition to supporting the case financially from the beginning, the National Rifle Association filed a friend of the court brief in support of the plaintiffs.

“No one should have to wait until they are assaulted before they are allowed to exercise their fundamental right of self-defense,” said Chris W. Cox, Executive Director of the NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action. “The U.S. Supreme Court has already affirmed our Constitutional right to Keep Arms, and today, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the right to Bear Arms. Our fundamental, individual Right to Keep and Bear Arms is not limited to the home,” concluded Cox.

From the Court Ruling:

Because the Second Amendment “confer[s] an individual right to keep and bear arms,” we must assess whether the California scheme deprives any individual of his constitutional rights. Heller, 554 U.S. at 595. Thus, the question is not whether the California scheme (in light of San Diego County’s policy) allows some people to bear arms outside the home in some places at some times; instead, the question is whether it allows the typical responsible, law-abiding citizen to bear arms in public for the lawful purpose of self-defense. The answer to the latter question is a resounding “no.”

Are You A Prepper In The St. Louis Area?

If you are a prepper or suburban homesteader in the St. Louis metro area and are in the market for a new home, I’d like to point out a real estate auction that will be taking place on Thursday, February 20th in O’Fallon, Illinois. The auction is part of a mega auction handled by Adam’s Auctions of Belleville, Illinois. The auction flyer can be found here. There is an open house this coming Sunday, February 16th from 12 to 2pm. The house is located at 970 Old Vincennes Trail in O’Fallon.

The house and land belong to the Complementary Spouse’s mother who now resides in senior-living apartment. At age 84, it was just too much for her to keep up with. The property consists of a 3 bedroom, 3 full bath brick ranch with a full, finished walk-out basement. It has fireplaces with inserts on both levels. The house is listed as being 4,832 square feet of heated living space. More details on the house are available here.

A virtual tour of the house is available here.

It is situated on 5 acres of partially wooded land on the outskirts of O’Fallon, Illinois. It also has a heated two story outbuilding that has a shop and a two car garage. There is also an old barn at the back of the property which could be torn down or refurbished. At the very least, you could sell the barn wood for decorative uses like picture frames.

Front view of house – picture taken this past Christmas.

The house is surrounded by many farms yet is just around the corner from O’Fallon police department and about a mile from the fire department. A very modern YMCA is in walking distance from the back of the property. It is also about 3.5 miles to the front gate at Scott Air Force Base. Scott is the home to the US Transportation Command, Air Mobility Command, and the Surface Deployment and Distribution Command.

A small stream runs through the property and the property still has a functioning well though it is on city water. In other words, from a prepping standpoint, you have an alternate source of water. The house is heated with propane and there is a large tank. However, you do have the option of
connecting to natural gas as a gas line was run on the property after it
was built.

When the Complementary Spouse’s parents bought this property in 1999, it was supposed to be their dream retirement home. Her mom had a sewing room and lots of space for storage. Her father had his workshop out back, space for a large garden, a private office, and a locked gun room. The house could hold all their three children and all their eight grandchildren comfortably at the holidays. Cancer interrupted those dreams as it is wont to do.

I have spent many a Christmas and summer vacation in this house. I love this house. If I could teleport the house and property to North Carolina, I’d do it in a heart beat. While not perfect, it has all the raw material needed for a suburban homestead – land, trees, water, and space.

If you are interested and have questions, please feel free to pop me an email.

9th Circuit: “Good cause” Violates Second Amendment

Great news out of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.

In the case of Peruta v. San Diego, the court found that requiring “good cause” to get a carry permit violates the Second Amendment. The court said the state of California can decide what training and background checks are required as well as the manner of carry. However, they can’t preclude the vast majority of Californians from exercising their right to carry.

Dave Kopel has more here at the Volokh Conspiracy page of the Washington Post.

Here is some background on the original case, the decision by District Court Judge Irma Gonzalez, and the decision to appeal the case to the 9th Circuit. The case was appealed to the 9th Circuit in late 2010 which shows just how long it takes to move Second Amendment cases forward.