Earlier this week I returned to DC from visiting my family in Upstate New York. Unlike the New York most people think of—the city tall buildings, subways, pizza, Seinfeld, and Marxists—Upstate New York is a far more rural region. It is a land dominated by mountains, plateaus, rivers, forests, fields of corn and grain in the summer…and enough snow in the winter to think you somehow ended up on Hoth.
But what also makes it different is that it lacks jobs. Well and truly, there are a dearth of options in Upstate New York for people, especially young people. It’s one reason why New York has lost six Congressional seats over the past three censuses, as people flee the north to find better opportunities in other states.
Regrettably, this trend may continue, if gun control advocates have their way:
Calls to stiffen gun laws are worrying officials in the village of Ilion, just outside of Utica, built around the gun manufacturing company Remington Arms.
The company recently moved its Bushmaster rifle manufacturing to its plant in Ilion. It’s the gun used in both the Newtown and Webster shootings last month.
Villagers in Ilion say banning certain weapons as a response to the shootings would devastate their community.
When Michael Sportello was in the army, he was proud to tell everyone that some of the guns he used came from his hometown.
The worry now is that it won’t always be there. People in Ilion believe tougher gun laws will encourage Remington Arms to pick up and move out of state and leave the more than 1,000 people employed there without a job.
“It’s not just gun owners, hunters, or target shooters that are worried about this. It’s the average everyday citizen that might work at Walmart or a retail store and they feel the same way,” said Chuck Lester, who’s on the Ilion Municipal Utilities Board.
Lester doesn’t own a gun, but does interior restoration for many people who do. He says a loss of that magnitude would bring down his business, too.
“If we lost Remington Arms, it’d be a major hit. Not just to Ilion alone, it would affect the entire surrounding area,” Lester said.
A loss of employment and the village’s tax base are also a concern.
“You might as well fold the sidewalks up if Remington were to leave Ilion,” said Ilion’s Deputy Mayor Beth Neale.
Boom. Gun control laws would destroy another Upstate New York community.
The economy already sucks. Are we going to take away another 1,000 jobs? At the rate this is going, Upstate New York will become a ghost region.
New York State—and the nation—should think long and hard about what effect such gun control laws might have. It would go far beyond just preventing people from buying guns. It could prevent some people from buying anything at all.