Bushmaster is owned by Freedom Group Inc., the largest firearms maker in the U.S., which has its headquarters on Remington Drive outside the neighboring small towns of Madison and Mayodan, N.C.

No guns or ammunition are manufactured there. Most people around know the 43,000-square-foot building near the high school and the Walmart as the home of Remington Arms, which moved to the site in the mid-1990s, and not the weapons conglomerate Freedom Group has become, said Mayodan Town Manager Michael Brandt.

"They're not big contributors to the community like a typical large company would be in an area," Brandt said. "This is where they're located, but we don't really see much of them."

Word that Freedom Group is for sale and changes are looming has generated little local concern in an area where surviving textile producers and a Miller-Coors brewery are bigger employers, said Sharon Chirichella, who runs a temporary staffing agency and is an officer with the local chamber of commerce.

That contrasts with Ilion, where the concern among people is the future of Remington. The company had said last March it could leave New York if the state went ahead with a move to add unique identifying information on spent bullet casings. That proposal is off the table, but people in town wonder where things stand in the wake of the new state law, which does not affect Remington's ability to manufacture military-style weapons.

"If I'm an executive at Remington, what's my attitude going to be toward the state that bans one of the premier products that I produce?" local Assemblyman Marc Butler asked.

Obama's gun control proposal added more uncertainty. Jamie Rudwall, who has worked at the plant since 1995 and is president of the United Mine Workers of America Local 717, said he expected the gun business to increase in the short term amid new regulatory proposals, but he worries about jobs in Ilion long term.

If you liked this article you might like

What's Behind the Surge in Energy Stocks

Hillary Clinton Says Prosecuting Individuals is Key to Wall Street Reform