The Associated Press reported that reacting to the Massachusetts Legislature’s proposal to ban certain firearms, gun manufacturer Smith & Wesson announced its intention to move its headquarters to Tennessee.
The gunmaker, founded in 1852, said it was spending $125 million to relocate its Springfield base because of legislative proposals that would ban them from manufacturing assault weapons, according to officials.
The Democrat-led legislature is weighing its options on banning the sale and possession of assault weapons or large-capacity magazines, a sweeping gun control measure that would also make their manufacture illegal, unless the military or law enforcement not for purposes.
“While we expect this arbitrary and harmful law to be defeated this season, these products made up more than 60 percent of our revenue last year, and the unfortunate prospect of such restrictions being lifted again seemed the best course of action.” Reviewed. Forward to Smith & Wesson,” Mark Smith, CEO of Smith & Wesson, said in a news release.
For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below.
Tennessee’s Department of Economic and Community Development said Smith & Wesson Brands Inc. will move its headquarters, distribution, assembly and plastic injection molding operations to Maryville, 18 miles (29 kilometers) south of Knoxville. Groundbreaking is planned before the end of the year.
One of the main reasons for Tennessee, the company argued, is its “support for the Second Amendment.”
Tennessee has moved in recent years to loosen gun restrictions under Republican leadership. Earlier this year, the state became the first state to allow most adults age 21 and older to carry a handgun without a permit, which previously requires state-level background checks and training.
The company said the move would not start until 2023. Jobs will be transferred from the Massachusetts facility, which will remain operational but reconfigured, and from facilities in Deep River, Connecticut, and Columbia, Missouri, both of which will be closed, the company said.
The company said the Connecticut plastic injection molding facility would be sold, while the Missouri facility used for distribution would be marketed for subcontracting.
With the move, the company will move four to three locations, with no impact on the facility in Halton, Maine. Some construction work will remain in Massachusetts and the company plans to continue to lay off 1,000-plus employees in the state.
Gunmaker will have company in Tennessee: The state is home to more than 20 small-arms and ammunition makers, officials said.