According to the Democrat and Chronicle, the gun manufacturing giant Remington Arms has offered to repurpose its plant in Ilion, New York, to help Gov. Andrew Cuomo produce medical equipment to meet the exploding demand in the coronavirus crisis.
The plant was already scheduled to temporarily shut down at the end of April to comply with Cuomo’s executive order for non-essential workers to stay home.
“The Remington plant in Ilion now has approximately one million square feet of unused and available manufacturing space,” said Remington CEO Ken D’Arcy in a letter to Cuomo and President Donald Trump. “We would be honored to donate our facility to the production of ventilators, surgical masks, hospital beds or any other products mission-critical to the war on coronavirus … ventilators are essential to winning this new kind of war and Remington stands ready to enlist in wartime production.”
It is a surreal moment, given that Remington and Cuomo have been at odds over gun control in New York for years — the company was a prominent critic of the New York SAFE Act, signed by Cuomo in 2013, a sweeping law that banned the sale of certain semi-automatic rifles and tightened background checks and mental health reporting for weapons sales.
Remington’s Ilion plant has faced ups and downs over the years. In 2019, the plant was partially closed and many employees furloughed, in part due to declining demand for guns.