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U.S. Senator Richard Shelby tours Huntsville Remington plant, touts future growth

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) -- U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby visited Huntsville’s Remington firearms plant Monday, emphasizing his commitment to the right to bear arms.

Shelby is seeking a sixth-term in the U.S. Senate and has four Republican opponents in the March 1 primary.

The plant – located at the site of the former Chrysler facility -- is up and running, currently employs about 300 workers and is hiring.

“This is a huge building and they were telling me we’re growing step by step, bit by bit,” Shelby said. “And this is a good payroll, they’re going to have about 400 people and they’ll keep building and growing here. And I think it’s a plus-plus for Alabama. We’re open for business and we believe in the 2nd Amendment.”

Remington Outdoor Co. CEO Jim "Marco" Marcotuli said 2016 will be a special year for Remington, which is celebrating its 200th anniversary.

“How did Remington get to be such an iconic company in its 200 years? It’s really because of people like you,” he said. “The heart, the pride, coming out in the products and everything you do, every day. I’ll tell you that when I look around the room, I see that same pride, I see it in the products, I see it in the lines, I see it in everything you do.

“I submit to you that we’re setting the stage for the next 200 years right here in Alabama.”

Chris Cox, executive director of the National Rifle Association’s Institute for Legislative Action, told plant workers that Shelby was instrumental in passing a measure protecting gun makers from lawsuits over criminal misuse of firearms. Cox said without the “Protection of Lawful Commerce and Arms act,” Remington and firearms makers would have been bankrupted by the lawsuits.

He said Remington has continued a proud legacy.

“And Jim mentioned 200 years, you think about that, 200 years and what this country’s gone through, what this industry’s gone through, and Remington’s been synonymous with more than just making quality, dependable firearms,” Cox said. “It’s really been one of those symbols of American freedom.”

Shelby said the 2nd Amendment needs to be respected by President Obama and Attorney General Loretta Lynch, who have advocated stricter gun control measures.

“I believe in the 2nd Amendment, I’ve always believed in the 2nd Amendment,” Shelby said. “I believe in the Constitution, period. The Constitution, Mr. President is not a suggestion; it’s the law of the land.”

Shelby said he planned to question Lynch during a Senate committee hearing he’s chairing on Wednesday.

“I want to ask her then, and I will tell her now, ‘Why do you continue, on behalf of the Obama Administration, to tinker with the 2nd Amendment? Why don’t you leave it alone? Why don’t you honor it? Why don’t you respect it? You took an oath to uphold the constitution,’” Shelby said. “But are you doing that when you’re trying to chip away at the people’s rights?”

Cox said the White House recent gun control proposals, had they been in place previously, would not have been useful in stopping several recent mass shootings.

“You know, the truth is, you look at these high-profile murders, and that’s what they are, whether it was in Charleston or Chattanooga or Fort Hood or Santa Barbara or Tucson or Aurora, all of those criminals, or all of those murderers, passed Barack Obama’s background check,” Cox said.