Legendary gun maker Smith & Wesson (S&W) is leasing its historic home of Massachusetts, thanks to a proposed new law prohibiting the manufacturing of certain firearms.
S&W has resided in Massachusetts since 1856, and has become a staple of the American gun tradition alongside other famous names like Winchester, Remington, and Colt. The S&W .357 magnum in particular achieved celebrity status due to being the weapon of choice of Clint Eastwood in the popular Dirty Harry movies.
However, with the proposal of a bill in April of this year that would ban the manufacture of “assault weapons” (which really means semi-automatic rifles), the company stands to lose 60 percent of its revenue. This prompted the decision to bite the bullet and partially relocate out of the company’s historical home, under the rationale that even if this bill did not pass, it would only be a matter of time before another one did.
S&W CEO Mark Smith described this bill and others like it in terms of a direct attack on the 2nd Amendment in a statement:
“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.”
The new facility will cost $120 million, and will be located in Maryville, Tennessee, where the political climate is more conducive to the company and the 2nd Amendment in general. The move is scheduled to be completed by 2023, and will remove about 550 jobs from its current home of Springfield. The revolver portion of the company will remain in Massachusetts, however, retaining about 1,000 jobs.
As part of the move, other facilities will be closed in Connecticut and Missouri, and shifting to Tennessee as part of a consolidation. Specifically, the plastic injection molding, pistol and rifle portions of the company will move, while metal forging, machining, finishing, and revolver portions will continue to carry the torch in Massachusetts.
With anti-gun winds blowing stronger in Massachusetts, and protesters congregating in front of the S&W headquarters, Tennessee welcomes the opportunity with the move. The state actively courted S&W, and talks were in the works for a while, with Tennessee happy to take in the jobs and tax revenue of the company, with the governor making no attempt to hide his glee and the economic gains:
We’re keeping our foot on the gas & I’m excited to announce another major economic development win.
Welcome to TN, @Smith_WessonInc! We’re proud this company has chosen to relocate from Massachusetts to Blount Co. Thanks for creating 750 jobs & your significant investment. pic.twitter.com/bM4trYYMBp
— Gov. Bill Lee (@GovBillLee) September 30, 2021
Though the presence in its home of 165 years has diminished, the S&W brand will continue to live on, and not just in Dirty Harry movies.
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