Gun control extremism by state lawmakers in Massachusetts just cost the Bay State hundreds of jobs and possibly millions of dollars in revenue as Smith & Wesson announced this week it is moving a large part of its operation to Tennessee.
According to the National Shooting Sports Foundation, this is not the first firearms company to be moving operations out of unfriendly surroundings to a more pleasant location where firearms are concerned. It is not a complete departure, but the move gets one if the legendary company’s most popular firearms out of Massachusetts.
According to WWLP in Springfield, “Companies like Smith & Wesson have been operating under what legislators refer to as a ‘loophole’ in the current law – which allows them to manufacture assault weapons and ship them off to other states.” These so-called “assault weapons” were banned back in 2004 under legislation signed by then-Gov. Mitt Romney, a Republican now serving in the U.S. Senate and representing Utah.
WWLP said the Springfield operation will remain, keeping “more than 1,000 employees” on the job with manufacturing operations that include “forging, machining, metal finishing and assembling revolvers.”
But Smith & Wesson will also reportedly be shutting down facilities in neighboring Connecticut, and in Missouri in 2023, and according to Ammoland, it follows an industry trend.
Democrat State Sen. Eric Lesser issued a statement: “Regardless of one’s personal views on gun control, this move is bad news for the hundreds of families who will lose stable, well-paying jobs. Looking forward, I’ve already begun conversations with relevant public and private sector leaders about suitable reuse of the space and ways to assist the 550 impacted employees through training, job placement, and other means. It is my hope that the location remains vibrant and in keeping with the proud manufacturing tradition of our region.”
There seems to be no small amount of “we told you so” emerging around this announcement.
“This follows a pattern of firearm and ammunition manufacturers that are migrating to states that respect the contributions of the firearm industry and respect the Second Amendment rights of those who purchase their products,” said Lawrence G. Keane, NSSF Senior Vice President and General Counsel in a news release. “The decision to expand production by any firearm manufacturer is indicative of the strong and vibrant market of lawful gun ownership. Firearm sales have been at record levels for more than 18 months and this investment in the future shows that the leading firearm manufacturers see a market with continued room for growth.”
According to NSSF, “Smith & Wesson will add 750 jobs to the state and invest over $125 million to build a new state of the art facility. The firearm industry already employs nearly 7,800 people in Tennessee through direct or indirect jobs and contributes over $1.07 billion in economic impact. The firearm industry pays $130.5 million in federal and state taxes annually and contributed an additional $22.1 million in excise taxes that benefit wildlife conservation.”
Here’s a list of major moves by gun companies in recent years that have cost states dominated by anti-gun legislatures a fortune, according to NSSF:
- Remington Outdoor Company movedmuch of its production from New York to Huntsville.
- Kimber expanded production to Troy, over Yonkers, N.Y. It later relocatedthe corporate headquarters to Alabama.
- Les Baer movedfrom restrictive Illinois to LeClaire, Iowa, in 2007.
- Lewis Machine & Tool Company (LMT) left Illinoisafter 40 years to relocate to Iowa in 2019.
- Olin Corporation’s Winchester Ammunition movedfrom East Alton, Ill., to Oxford in 2011.
- North Carolina
- Sturm, Ruger and Co. expandedproduction in Mayodan in 2013.
- Kahr Arms movedtheir headquarters to Greely, Penn., from New York after the state rushed through passage of the SAFE Act.
- South Carolina
- American Tactical Imports relocated100 jobs and its manufacturing from Rochester, N.Y., to Summerville, S.C., in 2013.
- PTR Industries leftConnecticut for Aynor in 2013, where it set up shop.
- Beretta movedfirearm production and engineering and design to Gallatin, Tenn., from Maryland in 2015 over concerns of increasingly strict gun control legislation.
- Mossberg expandedproduction in Eagle Pass, Texas, in 2013, instead of growing its New Haven, Conn., plant.
- Colt Competition moved fromCanby, Ore., to Breckenridge, Texas, in 2013.
- Magpul Industries left Boulder, Colo., after the state passed magazine restrictions and movedproduction to Laramie, Wyo.
- Weatherby Inc.’s Adam Weatherby announcedat SHOT Show in 2018 he was moving the company from California to Sheridan, Wyo.
- Accessories maker HiViz announcedin 2013 they were leaving Fort Collins, Colo., over restrictive gun control legislation to Laramie.
- Stag Arms announcedin 2019 they were opening their new facility in Cheyenne, Wyo., after leaving their former headquarters in New Britain, Conn.