Kimber Finds Warm Welcome In Alabama

Guns and Gear | Contributor

By Larry Keane

Alabamians are celebrating and New Yorkers are left scratching their heads. No… it’s not about the BCS championship game where the Crimson Tide pulled out an overtime win against Georgia. The most recent victory for the Yellowhammer state was luring Kimber Manufacturing, Inc., to build a $38-million facility in Troy instead of expanding production at its location in Yonkers, New York.

That’s right. Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey announced in her State of the State address that Kimber, maker of handguns and bolt-action rifles, would be putting a little drawl, y’all, into their products. Kimber’s going to build a $38 million automated design, engineering and manufacturing facility that will employ 366 people. The doors will open and customers can expect Troy, Alabama markings on their guns in 2019.

“Kimber’s investment in Troy will create a significant number of high-paying design engineering and manufacturing jobs, and we are committed to helping the company find long-lasting success in Alabama,” Gov. Ivey said.

Who Says You Can’t Leave Home?

Kimber made note of their roots in the Empire State. But it seems that the new facility will do more than just allow the company to double manufacturing capacity. It will also invest and plant roots in a state that respects gun rights. While Kimber has grown, New York’s Gov. Andrew Cuomo rammed through New York’s SAFE Act, a massive gun control legislative package that has been a headache for New York gun owners since it was implemented five years ago.

The SAFE Act broadened the state’s definition of “assault rifle,” to include firearms with a “military-style” feature including telescoping stocks and flash suppressors and required every single modern sporting rifle to be registered with the state. If owners didn’t want to register, they could sell them to a dealer or someone out of state, unless they wanted to remove the offending features.

The Act also included a ban on magazines capable of holding more than seven rounds. Magazines capable of holding ten rounds before the Act was signed could still be possessed, but only loaded with seven rounds. That was too far even for a federal judge in New York who struck down the provision in 2013 and Gov. Cuomo was again denied by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in 2015.

With Friends Like These…

There’s more. Want to buy ammunition in New York? Gov. Cuomo wanted every purchase to be completed with a background check. That portion is suspended for lack of adequate state technology, but is still on the books. There’s no word on whether the governor will get a database working like he wants.

Gun gets stolen? In New York, you might be the criminal if you don’t report it within 24 hours. Want to give your prized rifle to your son or daughter? The SAFE Act requires a background check with a federally-licensed firearms dealer.

It doesn’t end there. Five years after the SAFE Act was signed into law, pistol permits are coming up on a renewal deadline. If they aren’t renewed, they’re revoked and New York requires firearms to be seized. Oneida County alone has 30,000 permits. Only a fraction have been submitted for renewal. State lawmakers are scrambling.

No wonder Kimber found a warmer reception with Southern hospitality.

Larry Keane is Senior Vice President and General Counsel for the National Shooting Sports Foundation.

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