Pointing to a lack of support for the 2nd Amendment in Massachusetts, gun manufacturer Smith & Wesson plans to relocate its headquarters from Springfield, Massachusetts in a $125 million investment expected to create 750 jobs in Tennessee.
The move also includes Smith & Wesson employees who work at a company facility in Deep River, Connecticut. Massachusetts and Connecticut employees will be offered jobs at the new plant in Tennessee.
Company CEO Mark Smith said the move was based on support for the 2nd Amendment in Tennessee, the cost of living and the availability of a trained workforce, among other considerations.
“This has been an extremely difficult and emotional decision for us, but 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,” said Smith, who is also the company president, in a news release.
“We would like to specifically thank (Tennessee) Gov. (Bill) Lee for his decisive contributions and the entire state legislature for their unwavering support of the 2nd Amendment and for creating a welcoming, business friendly environment.”
Tennessee’s Department of Economic and Community Development confirmed that the gunmaker would move its headquarters, distribution, assembly and plastic injection molding operations to Maryville, some 18 miles south of Knoxville. Groundbreaking is planned before the end of the year.
Smith & Wesson will keep some of its manufacturing operations in Springfield, including all forging, machining, metal finishing and assembly of revolvers, and will continue to have over 1,000 employees in the state.
The gunmaker, founded in 1852 in Springfield, will have company: Tennessee officials say the state is home to more than 20 small arms and ammunition manufacturers.
Smith cited legislation recently proposed in Massachusetts that, if enacted, would prohibit the company from manufacturing certain firearms in the state.
“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,” Smith said. “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.”