Could Navajo Still Purchase Remington and Would They Leave Ilion?
These are uncertain times for employees of the Remington Arms company in Ilion. On Monday, the company filed for Chapter 11 federal bankruptcy protection, only 2 years after filing bankruptcy in March of 2018 over nearly $1(b) billion in debt.
Since then, things have only gotten worse.
Now the Navajo Nation, one of the largest Native American tribes in the country with more than 350,000 members and the leading bidder to purchase America's oldest gunmaker, has reportedly pulled out of the discussions, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal. This means the Remington Outdoor Company is headed back into bankruptcy without a known buyer.
This isn't the first time the Navajo have attempted to purchase Remington Arms. They made what looked like a sweet offer back in 2018, but Remington rejected it. The Navajo Nation, which controls more than a $3.3 billion investment trust, offered to purchase Remington for between $475 million and $525 million - in cash, according to a report in the New York Times.
The Navajo Nation ceased their pursuit of Remington back on July 14th, the same day employees of the company in Ilion received a memo that most workers would be furloughed this summer, according to a report in the Framingham Daily Times located in New Mexico, near Nation land. It reported that the Navajo Nation Council's Budget and Finance Committee voted to table the the idea of purchasing Remington after there were "questions about liabilities and financing."
"I think the biggest question was, we don't have a license to be an arms dealer, arms manufacturer (or) owner," said Daniel E. Tso, a Nation Delegate told the newspaper in a telephone interview. "There's too many unanswered questions," he added.
What Was the Navajo Plan for Remington?
In the 2018 story in the New York Times, reporter Andrew Ross Sorkin reported that the Nation's plan was to move the company away from consumer business and to focus on police and military contracts. Sorkin also reported that they planned to invest heavily into "smart guns" that used finger print technology and to curb the consumer sale of AR-15 style weapons, like the one that was used in the mass shooting in Newtown, Connecticut in 2012.
The Times also reported that the tribe's long-term goal was to move the Remington operation onto Navajo land where they would build small machining operations that would feed parts and supplies to the company. The intention was to curb the high unemployment rate on the Navajo Reservation, which has historically in the 70-percent range. Sorkin reported that the move to invest in Remington, was actually an investment in the Navajo people.