Escaping from increasingly restrictive gun control laws in Massachusetts, Smith & Wesson—an icon in American firearms manufacturing since the 19th Century—has opened its new corporate headquarters in Maryville, Tennessee.
The company was founded in 1856 by Horace Smith and Daniel B. Wesson following an earlier failed business attempt called Volcanic Repeating Arms.
The official opening occurred over the weekend, attended by several VIPs, and a crowd that was welcomed by S&W President and CEO Mark Smith, who was quoted by the Associated Press observing, “From where I stand, the next 170 years of Smith & Wesson are looking pretty good. It is something special here in Tennessee.”
Special can easily translate to the far better political and business climate in the Volunteer State. Instead of Draconian gun laws, Tennessee has made life much easier for its gun owning citizens in recent years.
Fox Business is reporting that U.S. Sen. Marsha Blackburn attended the ribbon cutting ceremony Saturday, observing, “In Tennessee, we know that the Second Amendment is non-negotiable and are pleased to officially welcome Smith & Wesson to Maryville. Their significant investment in our state is a testament to our pro-business policies, and we look forward to their continued partnership to bolster our economic development and exceptionally skilled workforce.”
The company has introduced some of the most iconic firearms in U.S. history, including the famed .357 Magnum in the mid-1930s, the .44 Magnum in the mid-1950s and .41 Magnum in the mid-1960s. Smith & Wesson has also produced shotguns, modern semiautomatic rifles and a variety of semi-auto pistols which have become popular among law enforcement and private citizens.
The company had been based in Springfield, Mass., for more than 150 years, but during the past half-century the political climate—dominated by increasingly liberal Democrats—has become hostile to the firearms industry.
One of the highlights of the weekend activities was the setting of two new speed shooting world records by legendary world champion handgunner Jerry Miculek.
Among those present to witness the event was Montana Attorney General Austin Knudsen, who wrote about it on his Facebook Page.
There was a small protest from gun prohibition advocates, according to WATE, which described protesters as “gun safety advocates” from Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action. Their presence did not detract from the celebratory mood of the event.