It’s been a good news/bad news sorta week for Big Green.
First, the bad news. Remington announced that it has laid off more than 120 workers at its factory in Ilion, New York.
“The small arms industry is facing significant near-term challenges related to slowing order velocity and high channel inventories; a dynamic from which Remington is not immune,” said Jessica Kallam, Remington’s manager of media relations and public affairs, in a statement.
“After exploring all the options available to us, we are compelled to reduce our work force by releasing 122 team members today at our Ilion, N.Y. site,” the statement continued. “As we move forward, we will continue to monitor all segments of the business for growth opportunities.”
Remington has had a facility in Ilion since the 19th century which has become part of the lifeblood of that small upstate community home to around 8,000 residents. Even with the layoffs, Remington still employs 960 people, according to Ilion Mayor Terry Leonard.
Mayor Leonard expressed concern about the fate of the plant’s future, given that Remington opened a new facility down in Huntsville, Alabama in 2014. As part of consolidation efforts, 231 Ilion workers were let go in August and November of 2014.
“Should they ever just close down totally, it would be a total catastrophe for the entire area here,” the mayor told Reuters.
While Remington insists that the changes in personnel are due to market conditions, at least one state lawmaker sees this as a result of the draconian NY SAFE Act of 2013 that ratcheted up regulations on firearms in the Empire State.
“It’s very troubling that 122 of our neighbors have lost their jobs due to poor economic policies pushed by Gov. Cuomo and Assembly Democrats as well as the SAFE Act,” said New York State Assemblyman Brian Miller of the 101st District in an interview with WKTV.
“Make no mistake, there is a direct correlation,” he added. “My staff and I remain fully committed to helping those affected by layoffs and will assist them and their families in any way we can.”
The Cuomo regime and the SAFE Act may share in some of the blame but there is little doubt that gun sales have waned since Obama left office. FBI Background checks (a bellwether for gun sales) are down 17 percent in January and February this year when compared to the same period in 2016.
Many predict that with Trump in the White House, the decline in sales will continue for the foreseeable future.
“We do believe that having a Republican in the White House…negatively impacts gun sales in that it effectively eliminates any threat of new gun regulation for the foreseeable future,” said James Hardiman, managing director of equities research for Wedbush Securities Inc.
Hardiman told Reuters that he forecasts a 10% to 15% decline in FBI background checks for 2017.
The move by Big Green follows a number of other belt tightenings around the industry, including reported layoffs at SilencerCo and the announcement this week that outdoor retailer Gander Mountain would file Chapter 11 bankruptcy and close 32 locations.
Now, for the good news. A federal judge approved a settlement that arose from the notorious “faulty trigger” class action lawsuit against Remington.
Why is it good news for Big Green?
Well, it puts to bed the longstanding claim that throughout the years Remington was making rifles with defective trigger mechanisms that would fire a round without the trigger being pulled.
Moreover, the payout is minimal. Only $12.5 million, with each class representative receiving $2,500 after attorney fees and expenses for the plaintiffs have been subtracted.
That’s chump change compared to estimates that suggested that Remington would be on the hook for almost half a billion dollars considering that there are upwards of 7.5 million rifles in circulation that would allegedly need fixing.
The reason the payout was so small is that the claims rate was only .29 percent. In other words, a relatively small number of individuals — about 22,000 — filed claims after Remington announced the recall on their rifles at the start of settlement negotiations a few years back.
In the opinion, the court noted the dissatisfaction with the low turnout but indicated that doesn’t mean that the settlement reached was unfair.
“While the Court remains disappointed with the claims rate, the claims rate does not dictate whether the notice provided was the best notice practicable under the circumstances. The claims rate does not govern whether the settlement is fair, reasonable, or adequate,” states the opinion.
The court also noted that Remington did do enough to satisfy the court in its publicity of the recall effort, which will continue for an additional 18 months and possibly increase the number of claims.
The question has to be asked to what extent there was a defect with the trigger mechanisms in these rifles? With 7.5 million in circulation, wouldn’t there be hundreds of thousands of people filing claims? Wouldn’t there be videos all over Youtube of rifles firing randomly?
Paul Helinski, the owner and founder of GunsAmerica, addressed these questions in a recent article, entitled, “Remington Fights Back Against Fake News 60 Minutes Attack.”
In it the article, Paul argues that the claims of accidental discharges are either widely overblown or completely fabricated, concluding that “there is nothing wrong with the Remington 700, and there never was.”
To that end, Remington has consistently denied any wrongdoing. And, finally, they can move on.
Below, you’ll find information along with links pulled from the Remington website that pertains to the settlement.
IF YOU OWN CERTAIN REMINGTON FIREARMS, YOU MAY BE ELIGIBLE FOR BENEFITS FROM A CLASS ACTION SETTLEMENT.
A proposed nationwide Settlement has been preliminarily approved in a class action lawsuit involving certain Remington firearms. The class action lawsuit claims that trigger mechanisms with a component part known as a trigger connector are defectively designed and can result in accidental discharges without the trigger being pulled. The lawsuit further claims that from May 1, 2006 to April 9, 2014, the X-Mark Pro® trigger mechanism assembly process created the potential for the application of an excess amount of bonding agent, which could cause Model 700 or Seven bolt-action rifles containing such trigger mechanisms to discharge without a trigger pull under certain limited conditions. The lawsuit contends that the value and utility of these firearms have been diminished as a result of these alleged defects. Defendants deny any wrongdoing.
The Settlement provides benefits to:
- Current owners of Remington Model 700, Seven, Sportsman 78, 673, 710, 715, 770, 600, 660, XP-100, 721, 722, and 725 firearms containing a Remington trigger mechanism that utilizes a trigger connector;
- Current owners of Remington Model 700 and Model Seven rifles containing an X-Mark Pro trigger mechanism manufactured from May 1, 2006 to April 9, 2014 who did not participate in the voluntary X-Mark Pro product recall prior to April 14, 2015; and
- Current and former owners of Remington Model 700 and Model Seven rifles who replaced their rifle’s original Walker trigger mechanism with an X-Mark Pro trigger mechanism.
WHAT DOES THE SETTLEMENT PROVIDE?
Settlement Class Members may be entitled to: (1) have their trigger mechanism retrofitted with a new X-Mark Pro or other connectorless trigger mechanism at no cost to the class members; (2) receive a voucher code for Remington products redeemable at Remington’s online store; and/or (3) be refunded the money they spent to replace their Model 700 or Seven’s original Walker trigger mechanism with an X-Mark Pro trigger mechanism.
HOW CAN I OBTAIN BENEFITS?
Submit a Claim Form. You can submit a claim form electronically.