It goes without saying, but the negatives of the coronavirus (COVID-19) far outweigh the positives as it relates the firearms world. One positive: A serious surge in gun sales, which brings with it new gun owners. Beyond that, maybe even a spark for national carry reciprocity. The negatives? Well, where do we begin? Beyond the evident sickness killing thousands of Americans, an ammo shortage has reared its ugly head. States have made it literally impossible for residents to buy guns, like New Jersey shutting down its background system. And now this: the coronavirus outbreak has forced manufacturers to close, halting production and shipping in some instances.
Coronavirus Closures in the Gun World
There are two sides to this story. Some manufactures have been deemed essential and battle increased demand in their respective states. Then there are the unfortunate manufacturers who must shutter their facilities for some time as their states battle COVID-19.
CZ-USA, a firearms manufacturer based in Kansas City, Kan., was the first to announce any closures due to the coronavirus. The manufacturer announced Tuesday that it is temporarily halting production and shipping of its firearms because of the COVID-19 threat and subsequent closures.
“Due to the ongoing novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, many jurisdictions throughout the United States and the world are experiencing government restrictions limiting activity to varying degrees,” the company announced Tuesday in a prepared statement. “CZ-USA operations are subject to an Emergency Order from our local government; it forces us to close our facilities in Kansas City, Kan., until at least April 23. Likewise, our Dan Wesson Firearms facility in Norwich, N.Y., was closed under similar circumstances late last week due to an order from the state of New York.”
CZ-USA manufactures a number of top-quality pistols, rifles and shotguns for sporting, competition and self-defense purposes. Dan Wesson firearms, a subsidiary of CZ-USA, has a similarly diverse firearms lineup.
“For the next 30 days, production and shipment delays are inevitable,” the statement said. “We apologize for the inconvenience we know this will cause—we hold our nation’s Second Amendment rights to be sacred and are very concerned about the impact that emergency orders will have on our customers. We will work diligently to deliver products as soon as legally possible, while maintaining social responsibility and compliance with government orders.”
Ballistic Magazine spoke with Jason Morton, CZ’s Vice President of Marketing. He told us that despite the coronavirus-based closures, many company employees are still working to accomplish their assigned tasks.
“Now that the stay-at-home order is in place, we are doing all we can to keep our business running as close to normal as possible,” Morton said. “Employees who can are working from home, while those who cannot are still on the payroll.
“The legal landscape is complicated, but we are proud to be able to keep our entire workforce on the payroll during this time. We are looking forward to proposed reforms and support being debated currently in congress—such measures would make a huge difference to employees and businesses like ours.”
Empire State of Mind
In addition to Dan Wesson, New York has also forced the closure of Remington Arms’ factory in Ilion, N.Y. Many other Remington facilities, however, remain open at this time.
Herkimer County Legislature Chairman Vincent J. Bono said the Remington Arms payroll makes up about one-sixth of the county’s total economy. He told the Observer-Dispatch that the closure “will be devastating to the families of those workers.”
Remington’s upstate New York closure is more of a local problem. However, another manufacturer wasn’t so lucky. While production continues at Kimber’s new, state-of-the-art facility in Troy, Ala., it won’t for long. Why? According to Kimber, the company manufactures a large number of parts in its Yonkers, N.Y., facility. Since there is a state-mandated closure in New York, the Troy facility will suspend production on March 31.
“This situation is unfortunate as we were off to an incredible start in gun shipments in 2020 and were running our factories seven days a week,” Kimber President Greg Grogan said in a release. “… Rest assured that any disruptions in product manufacturing are temporary, but the duration is out of our hands. As soon as we are allowed, we have plans in place to restart production as quickly as possible.”
“We would like to thank our dealers and consumers for their overwhelmingly positive response to our new 2020 products,” Grogan added. “With that said, if you are in the market for a Kimber firearm, now is the time to make that purchase.”
Kimber’s Alabama based customer service and repair services remain open to help customers with any questions they may have. In addition, the Alabama-based Kimber online store is open. The manufacturer will continue to ship products as long as inventory lasts.
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