Mass HQ relocates, Smith & Wesson tackles gun bills

BOSTON (SHNS) – Firearms maker Smith & Wesson announced Thursday that it will move its headquarters and “significant parts of its operations” from Springfield to Maryville, Tenn., Citing greater adherence to the rights of the second amendment and a more favorable business environment in the voluntary state.

The move, which will take place in 2023, will affect “more” than 750 jobs in Massachusetts, Connecticut and Missouri, although the company said it plans to keep more than 1,000 employees in Massachusetts, which is its home since its incorporation in 1852. All forging, machining, metal finishing and gun assembly will continue to take place in Massachusetts, the company said.

“Whatever personal perspective on gun control, this move is bad news for the hundreds of families who will lose stable, well-paying jobs,” said Senator Eric Lesser, who represents parts of Springfield. “Looking ahead, I have already started conversations with relevant leaders in the public and private sectors on the proper reuse of space and ways to help the 550 employees involved with training, placement and other ways. I hope the location remains vibrant and in keeping with our region’s proud manufacturing tradition.

Smith & Wesson chairman and CEO Mark Smith said a proposed law on Beacon Hill would prohibit his company and others from making certain types of firearms and accessories, such as assault weapons and high-capacity magazines covered by the state’s current ban on their purchase and possession, factored into the company’s choice to decamp to a new headquarters in Tennessee.

“These bills would prevent Smith & Wesson from manufacturing firearms that are legal in nearly every state in the United States and that are used safely by tens of millions of law-abiding citizens every day, exercising their constitutional rights of the 2nd amendment, protecting themselves and their families, and enjoying shooting sports, ”Smith said. “While we hope that this arbitrary and damaging legislation will be rejected during this session, these products accounted for over 60% of our revenue last year, and the unfortunate likelihood that such restrictions will be lifted again has led to a review of the best way forward for Smith & Wesson.

The legislation (HD 4192 / SD 2588) tabled by Representative Marjorie Decker and Senator Cynthia Creem in May has been referred to the Joint Committee on Public and Homeland Security and the Joint Committee on the Judiciary respectively. Smith & Wesson has aroused the ire of gun control advocates and other activists, and its Springfield headquarters has seen regular protests in recent years.

“For Smith & Wesson, citing this legislation as a reason for moving jobs from their Springfield facility is a politically practical and spurious Trojan horse, when in fact they are also moving jobs from Connecticut and Missouri,” they said. said Decker and Representative Frank Moran in a joint statement. They added, “Even if our bill becomes law, Smith & Wesson would still be able to manufacture these guns in Massachusetts for military and law enforcement purposes. These weapons were designed for military use.

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