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Smith & Wesson Announces Move to Tennessee, Cites Gun Control as Key Factor

It has been said that there are two ways to vote in the United States: the traditional way at the ballot box, and also with your dollar. As often as we think of this second style of voting to be depicted by boycotts and worker's strikes, perhaps a more appropriate way to think about it would be legal versus cultural. We observe the legal will of the people by how they vote, and the cultural impact they make by where they spend their money. Recently Smith & Wesson, who needs no introduction, has announced that they are moving from Massachusetts to Tennessee. The industry giant will be taking its economic influence elsewhere.

In a statement by Smith & Wesson, the recent proposal of a law prohibiting not only the possession of certain firearms within the state of Massachusetts, but their manufacturing as well leads a list of reasons for the move.

Read Smith & Wesson's Statement Below:


Smith & Wesson

Mark Smith, President and Chief Executive Officer, said “This has been an extremely difficult and emotional decision for us, but after an exhaustive and thorough analysis, for the continued health and strength of our iconic company, we feel that we have been left with no other alternative.” He specifically cited legislation recently proposed in Massachusetts that, if enacted, would prohibit the company from manufacturing certain firearms in the state. “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, 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.”

Smith indicated that the company vetted a number of cities and states and, after careful consideration, made the decision to relocate 750 jobs and its headquarters to Maryville, Tennessee.

The key factors in the decision included the following:

  • Support for the 2nd Amendment
  • Business-friendly environment
  • Quality of life for employees
  • Cost of living and affordability
  • Access to higher education institutions
  • Availability of qualified labor for its operations and headquarter functions
  • Favorable location for efficiency of distribution

Smith continued, “The strong support we have received from the State of Tennessee and the entire leadership of Blount County throughout this process, combined with the quality of life, outdoor lifestyle, and low cost of living in the Greater Knoxville area has left no doubt that Tennessee is the ideal location for Smith & Wesson's new headquarters. We would like to specifically thank Governor Lee for his decisive contributions and the entire state legislature for their unwavering support of the 2nd Amendment and for creating a welcoming, business friendly environment.”

Smith & Wesson will also close facilities in Connecticut and Missouri as part of consolidating in Tennessee. This process will result in the company reducing the number of locations it maintains from four to three and will significantly streamline its manufacturing and distribution operations.

The company emphasized that the move will not begin until 2023 and will not have an impact on employees' jobs until then. “Our loyal employees are the reason for our success and are always our number one priority. We are deeply saddened by the impact that this difficult decision will have on so many of our dedicated employees, but in order to preserve future jobs and for the viability of our business in the long term, we are left with no choice but to relocate these functions to a state that does not propose burdensome restrictions on our company.” Smith said. “We are making this announcement now to ensure that each employee has the time to make the decision that is right for them and their families. We are firmly committed to working on an individual level with each and every one of those who will be affected. We will assist any affected employee who is willing and able to move with financial and logistical relocation assistance. However, we also fully realize that this is simply not feasible for some. Therefore, for any affected employee who cannot move with us, we will offer enhanced severance and job placement services. We understand that this announcement will be very difficult for our employees, and we will do everything we can to assist them during this transition,” Smith said. All employees whose jobs are moved will be given these offers.

Key Facts:

  • The facility in Springfield, Massachusetts will be reconfigured but will remain operational.
  • Smith & Wesson will keep some of its manufacturing operations in Springfield, Massachusetts, including all forging, machining, metal finishing, and assembly of revolvers, and will continue to have over 1,000 employees in the state.
  • The new facility will be built in Maryville, Tennessee and will comprise of the company's headquarters, plastic injection molding, pistol and long gun assembly, and distribution.
  • Total investment in the project is estimated at $120 million, will be funded from cash on hand, and is expected to be accretive to EPS by $0.10 to $0.12 per year once fully operational.
  • Construction in Maryville, Tennessee is expected to begin in the calendar fourth quarter of 2021 and be substantially complete by the summer of 2023.
  • Upwards of 750 jobs will move from Springfield, Massachusetts; Deep River, Connecticut; and Columbia, Missouri to Maryville, Tennessee.
  • The company's plastic injection molding facility in Deep River, Connecticut, which services both Smith & Wesson as well as a significant number of external customers, will be sold. The Smith & Wesson portion of the operations will be moved to the new facility in Maryville, Tennessee, however, the external customer business will remain in Connecticut and will be divested.
  • The company's distribution operations in Columbia, Missouri will be moved to the new facility in Maryville, Tennessee, and the Columbia, Missouri facility will be marketed for sublease.
  • The relocation will have no impact on the company's operations in Houlton, Maine.

The National Shooting Sports Foundation® (NSSF®) has added this move to an expanding list of similar choices made by other companies, correlating what effect a State's laws in regards to firearms have on where companies like Smith & Wesson choose to move or expand.

Smith & Wesson
How a State legislates firearms that look like this necessarily impacts the wellbeing of the population. Banning them, it appears, has consequences.

Even before the events of 2020, we have seen factors such as restrictive gun laws play a key factor in where individuals and families choose to locate themselves. On the micro level, this impacts more than just a state's tax revenue, but congressional seats as well. On the macro level, the movement of Smith & Wesson not only draws attention to how a state's economy will be impacted, but their voting pool as well. We are reminded that the policies of politicians as well as the economic choices of private companies both factor into the wellbeing of a community.

Read the Statement by the NSSF Below:


NEWTOWN, Conn. — The National Shooting Sports Foundation® (NSSF®), the firearm industry trade association, noted that the announcement from Smith & Wesson Brands, Inc., of their plan to move their headquarters and a large portion of their operations to Tennessee, is just the latest of a series of firearm and ammunition manufacturers moving to states with strong Second Amendment traditions. Smith & Wesson announced their plans to relocate headquarters and assembly operations from Springfield, Mass., to Maryville, Tenn.

“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. “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.”

Smith & Wesson’s new Tennessee home is familiar with firearm manufacturing. Earlier this year Troy Manufacturing announced it was moving production from West Springfield, Mass., to Clarksville, Tenn. Beretta U.S.A. Corporation moved production from Maryland to Gallatin, Tenn., in 2016 and Barrett Firearms is headquartered in Murfreesboro, Tenn.

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.

Smith & Wesson’s announced expansion into Tennessee is the latest of states that respect the rights of law-abiding citizens attracting firearm and ammunition manufacturers to move or expand.

  • Alabama
    • Remington Outdoor Company moved much of its production from New York to Huntsville.
    • Kimber expanded production to Troy, over Yonkers, N.Y. It later relocated the corporate headquarters to Alabama.
  • Iowa
    • Les Baer moved from restrictive Illinois to LeClaire, Iowa, in 2007.
    • Lewis Machine & Tool Company (LMT) left Illinois after 40 years to relocate to Iowa in 2019.
  • Mississippi
    • Olin Corporation’s Winchester Ammunition moved from East Alton, Ill., to Oxford in 2011.
  • North Carolina
    • Sturm, Ruger and Co. expanded production in Mayodan in 2013.
  • Pennsylvania
    • Kahr Arms moved their headquarters to Greely, Penn., from New York after the state rushed through passage of the SAFE Act.
  • South Carolina
    • American Tactical Imports relocated 100 jobs and its manufacturing from Rochester, N.Y., to Summerville, S.C., in 2013.
    • PTR Industries left Connecticut for Aynor in 2013, where it set up shop.
  • Tennessee
    • Beretta moved firearm production and engineering and design to Gallatin, Tenn., from Maryland in 2015 over concerns of increasingly strict gun control legislation.
  • Texas
    • Mossberg expanded production in Eagle Pass, Texas, in 2013, instead of growing its New Haven, Conn., plant.
    • Colt Competition moved from Canby, Ore., to Breckenridge, Texas, in 2013.
  • Wyoming
    • Magpul Industries left Boulder, Colo., after the state passed magazine restrictions and moved production to Laramie, Wyo.
    • Weatherby Inc.’s Adam Weatherby announced at SHOT Show in 2018 he was moving the company from California to Sheridan, Wyo.
    • Accessories maker HiViz announced in 2013 they were leaving Fort Collins, Colo., over restrictive gun control legislation to Laramie.
    • Stag Arms announced in 2019 they were opening their new facility in Cheyenne, Wyo., after leaving their former headquarters in New Britain, Conn.

MORE ON GUN CONTROL




One response to “Smith & Wesson Announces Move to Tennessee, Cites Gun Control as Key Factor”

  1. Gene Harris says:

    Good for Smith and Wesson, every gun manufacturer in an anti-freedom state should pick up and go if at all possible! It is really anti-freedom not antigun, the anti-gun is just a result of being anti-freedom. It would be nice if more writers started to make the distinction! No different than standard capacity magazines, there is no such thing as high capacity, stop using the anti-freedom forces wording!!!

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  • Good for Smith and Wesson, every gun manufacturer in an anti-freedom state should pick up and go if at all possible! It is really anti-freedom not antigun, the anti-gun is just a result of being anti-freedom. It would be nice if more writers started to make the distinction! No different than standard capacity magazines, there is no such thing as high capacity, stop using the anti-freedom forces wording!!!

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