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Remington workers, Ilion take gun fight to Albany

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CNY/NNY/S. Tier: Remington workers, Ilion take gun fight to Albany
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With Albany pushing new gun regulations, the stakes are high for one local community. Our Andrew Sorensen tells us why the Herkimer County village of Ilion is asking legislators to slow down the conversation and hold off on gun control.

ILION, N.Y. -- Pretty much everyone in politics from Albany to Washington, D.C. was having the same conversation on Monday morning.

"If there is a step we can take that will save even one child from what happened at Newtown, we should take that step," said President Barack Obama.

But there is one community saying, "Not so fast."

"Without them over there, it would be hard for myself and everybody else's business to survive," owner of Sorrento's in Ilion, Ignazio Magro said.

A hardworking family man, restaurant owner and Italian immigrant, Magro landed in Ilion in 1973. Guns gave him the American dream.

"In 1974, I was hired by Remington Arms and I worked there for 10 years," he said.

When he was laid off from a sanitation job there, he had saved enough to open his restaurant, so it's hard for him to criticize guns.

"They gave me the opportunity to work, it was a great job," he said.

With roughly 1,300 Remington employees, most people in Ilion have similar stories.

"We've raised up our families on Remington!" United Mine Workers of America Local 717 Political Action Committee Chairman Frank Brown said.

Brown said that makes talks of assault weapons bans close to home.

"The definition of an assault weapon could absolutely hinder our product, many product lines that we do, and that could be half the workforce," he explained.

So a good crowd, full of people like Lynn Olmstead, turned up at the municipal hall to remind politicians what's at stake

"The schools, the village itself, property values will go down if they leave," said Olmstead.

And they're trying to sway the conversation.

"We're going to Albany," said Brown.

Because of the massive economic impact Remington has on Ilion, union membership says there's only one direction for them to take this conversation.

"Of course we're trying to take the focus off of guns, personally, as a union, as employees there, it's more about our jobs," Brown said.

They'll be going office to office in Albany, while local representatives in Washington try to push the same message to limit the bite out of their slice of the pie.

Politicians who represent the Ilion area say they support firmer background checks and mental health restrictions, but they're against any restrictions to assault weapons and high capacity magazines.

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