“Honestly, we know we could have defeated it this session,” Smith explained to media. “But it will be back the next session and the session after that. I just can’t operate with that big a risk hanging over the company. We only started this process once the bill was filed. Then and only then.”
Smith & Wesson expects it will be two more years before their firearms bear Tennessee markings, but they’re not the only one to leave. Troy Industries, also a manufacturer of MSRs and parts, announced their own relocation earlier this year. Beretta U.S.A. moved manufacturing from Accokeek, Md., to Gallatin, Tenn., and Barrett Firearms is headquartered in Murfreesboro, Tenn. Other companies left their traditional home states for friendlier business climates when it became clear legislatures became hostile to their industry.
Massachusetts’ lawmaker attacks on Smith & Wesson were purely political. They don’t like firearms and even after they successfully banned their own citizens from owning the MSRs made in their state, they attempted to export their gun control by jeopardizing a leader in the firearm industry. Not so with Tennessee.
“Our pro-business reputation, skilled workforce, and commitment to the Second Amendment make Tennessee an ideal location for firearms manufacturing,” said Republican Gov. Bill Lee in a press statement. “We welcome Smith & Wesson to The Volunteer State and are proud this U.S.-based brand has chosen to relocate from Massachusetts. Thanks for your significant investment in Blount County and for creating 750 new jobs”
Smith & Wesson’s response isn’t political at all. It’s just good business.
Larry Keane is the senior vice-president for government and public affairs, assistant secretary and general counsel for the National Shooting Sports Foundation.
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