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Gun manufacturer Smith & Wesson will move its headquarters from Massachusetts to Tennessee, citing the “changing business climate for firearms manufacturing in Massachusetts.”
The $1 billion company has operated from Springfield, Massachusetts, since 1852 — a decade before the American Civil War. However, the firm will relocate its headquarters and “significant elements of its operations” to Maryville, Tennessee, in 2023.
“After an exhaustive and thorough analysis, for the continued health and strength of our iconic company, we feel that we have been left with no other alternative,” explained Smith & Wesson CEO Mark Smith in a press release.
Among other reasons for moving to Tennessee, Smith & Wesson cited:
Smith & Wesson will pour $120 million into the new facility in Tennessee, relocating jobs from Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Missouri by the facility’s summer 2023 completion.
The press release referred to HD 4192 — a pending piece of legislation in Massachusetts that would ban the manufacture of “any assault weapon or large capacity feeding device” — except for those built for “an authorized law enforcement or military agency of the commonwealth, any other state, the United States, or a foreign government.”
“These bills would prevent Smith & Wesson from manufacturing firearms that are legal in almost every state in America and that are safely used by tens of millions of law-abiding citizens every day exercising their Constitutional 2nd Amendment rights, protecting themselves and their families, and enjoying the shooting sports,” said Smith. “While we are hopeful that this arbitrary and damaging legislation will be defeated in this session, these products made up over 60% of our revenue last year, and the unfortunate likelihood that such restrictions would be raised again led to a review of the best path forward for Smith & Wesson.”
Despite Massachusetts’ legislation, roughly 3.2 million Americans purchased their first firearm during the first half of 2021. Nearly half of the new gunowners are under the age of forty.
“This survey shows that there is a continuing demand signal for firearms from the American public,” commented National Shooting Sports Foundation President and CEO Joe Bartozzi in a statement. “We witnessed each month background check figures associated with a gun sale that are second only to those we saw in last year’s record-breaking totals.”
In 2020 alone, Americans purchased 39.7 million firearms — a 40% rise from the previous year.