By Josh Harkinson, Mother Jones, January 29, 2016
Political bluster flowed after Sandy Hook — and so did millions of dollars in subsidies.
In January 2013, a month after the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, the state of New York passed gun control legislation that included a ban on the retail sale of assault weapons. Soon after, Remington Outdoor Company, the maker of the Bushmaster assault rifle used in the massacre, announced it would lay off workers at its 200-year-old factory in Ilion and move production to Huntsville, Alabama. Then CEO George Kollitides explained in a letter to New York officials that the move was brought on by “state policies affecting use of our products.”
The gun lobby crowed about political payback: “We hope that sends a very strong message,” remarked then National Rifle Association’s president, Jim Porter, on an NRA radio show. What Porter didn’t mention was what Alabama had done to sweeten the deal: By relocating to Huntsville, Remington, a $1 billion firearms conglomerate owned by the Manhattan private-equity firm Cerberus Capital Management, would receive state and local grants, tax breaks, and other incentives worth approximately $69 million—the equivalent of getting about $14 from every resident of Alabama.
“I’ve had CEOs tell me that the offers are so extraordinary that they could essentially move their factories for free,” said one gun industry leader.
Since 2003, state and local governments from Alabama to Tennessee have given more than $120 million worth of taxpayer funds to at least seven major firearms companies….
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