Smith & Wesson has been arming Americans for over 170 years. Although headquartered in Massachusetts since the mid-19th century, the gunmaker recently pulled up stakes and moved to a red state, citing constrictive Democrat gun control legislation.
On Saturday, the company celebrated the grand opening of its new $160 million, 650,000 square-foot home base in Maryville, Tennessee.
Smith & Wesson CEO Mark Smith told the thousands who gathered for the campus’ opening ceremony and corresponding fall festival, “From where I stand, the next 170 years of Smith & Wesson are looking pretty good,” adding, “It is something special here,”
reported the Daily Times.
Bryan Daniels, president and CEO of Blount Partnership, emphasized that the company’s relocation would “positively change the lives of our citizens” for generations.
According to Daniels, the move comes with 800 jobs, the promise of a $125 million investment, and a commitment to offer a $25.97 sustained minimum wage.
Smith & Wesson spokesman Dave O’Connor
told the Knoxville News Sentinel the company is looking to add at least 620 jobs as well as a company museum and retail space on the new campus.
The company announced the move from Springfield, Massachusetts, to Tennessee back in September 2021, making no secret of the reason why.
Mark Smith noted that
Democratic gun control legislation “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, protecting themselves and their families, and enjoying the shooting sports,”
“While we are hopeful that this arbitrary and damaging legislation will be defeated in this session, these products made up over 60% of our revenue last year, and the unfortunate likelihood that such restrictions would be raised again led to a review of the best path forward for Smith & Wesson,” added Smith.
reported that Democratic lawmakers unveiled new legislation this month that would not only prohibit individuals from carrying guns into a person’s home without their permission, but would require key gun components to be serialized and registered with the state. The bill would also bar law-abiding citizens from firing guns near homes as well as from carrying weapons in schools, polling places, and government buildings.
Jim Wallace, executive director of the Gun Owners’ Action League said, “It’s a train wreck. … It’s a complete re-write of the gun laws.”
Massachusetts dropped nine points between 2016 and 2021 on the Cato Institute’s “Freedom in the 50 States”
index, such that it now sits at #30 in the union overall.
By Cato’s estimation, “The Second Amendment is nearly a dead letter in Massachusetts: the state tries to make guns as expensive as possible (locking mandates; dealer licensing; license to purchase any gun, with safety training) and virtually prohibits carry in public.”
Tennessee, by way of comparison, is
ranked as the fourth most free state in the nation.
The National Rifle Association celebrated the move,
telling Fox News Digital in a statement, “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 to the importance of preserving America’s gun industry and Second Amendment rights in a fair environment.”
Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), also present at the ribbon cutting, 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, and we look forward to their continued partnership to bolster our economic development and exceptionally skilled workforce.”
Legendary Texan professional shooter Jerry Miculek, who is sponsored by the company, marked the occasion by setting an NRA World Record with six shots at seven feet in 1.88 seconds with a 9mm revolver.
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