In an assertive move demonstrating the power of economic mobility and choice, iconic firearm manufacturer Smith & Wesson transitioned its long-standing headquarters from Massachusetts to the gun-friendly state of Tennessee. Smith & Wesson, which planted its roots in New England in 1852, has been synonymous with gun excellence for almost two centuries. Their decision to shift base is a stark reflection of the contrasting regulatory landscapes of the two states.
While Massachusetts has garnered a reputation for its stringent gun laws, Tennessee has actively developed an environment conducive to firearm businesses. Smith & Wesson CEO Mark Smith said at the grand opening in Maryville, “From where I stand, the next 170 years of Smith & Wesson are looking pretty good. It is something special here in Tennessee.” The welcoming regulatory environment and Tennessee’s proactive collaboration are pivotal reasons behind this significant transition.
Hey Massachusetts! Oops! Smith & Wesson left you & your policies for Tennessee where they built a $125Million facility, moved in 750 current employees and are creating 620 new jobs in addition for their new headquarters. Winner: Tennessee
Loser: Massachusetts pic.twitter.com/jaWFC2re24
— Patrick Hanrahan (@Hanrahan1949) October 9, 2023
Notably, Tennessee’s recent legislative decisions have solidified its stand on Second Amendment rights. The state, under Republican leadership, enacted a law in 2021 allowing adults aged 21 and older to carry handguns without needing a permit that mandates state-level background checks and training. This law starkly contrasts the legislative trajectory of Massachusetts, potentially jeopardizing Smith & Wesson’s manufacturing capabilities in the state.
The National Rifle Association (NRA) lauded the relocation, emphasizing the move’s symbolic importance in preserving the gun industry’s legacy and safeguarding Second Amendment rights. Tyler Schropp, NRA Executive Director of Advancement, told Fox News Digital, “Congratulations to Smith & Wesson on their grand opening in Tennessee. This move is a testament to their enduring legacy, their commitment to firearm excellence, and the importance of preserving America’s gun industry and Second Amendment rights in a fair environment.”
At the ribbon-cutting event in Tennessee, Smith & Wesson marked its new beginning and celebrated the spirit of gun sportsmanship. Competitive shooter Jerry Miculek showcased his remarkable skill, setting an NRA world record by hitting six steel plates in an astonishing 1.88 seconds using a Smith & Wesson handgun. Schropp of the NRA remarked, “The NRA stands proudly with exceptional marksmen like Jerry as he forges ahead in his unparalleled journey.”
While the relocation signals a new chapter for Smith & Wesson, it doesn’t mark the end of their association with Massachusetts. The company has assured that its Springfield facility will remain operational, albeit with some modifications. Smith & Wesson plans to retain more than 1,000 employees in Massachusetts, focusing on specific operations like forging, machining, and revolver assembly.
Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) encapsulated the sentiment of many in the Volunteer State when she said, “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.”