The gun-making giant Smith & Wesson has had its headquarters in Springfield, Massachusetts since 1852. Now, after nearly 170 years, the company is moving its headquarters and hundreds of jobs to Maryville, Tennessee due to proposed Massachusetts gun legislation. 

The legislation, if enacted, would prevent Smith & Wesson from manufacturing products characterized in Massachusetts as “assault rifles.” Such products accounted for more than 60 percent of Smith and Wesson’s revenue last year. 

“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,” Smith & Wesson CEO Mark Smith said in a statement.

“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,” Smith added.

S&W M&P15T rifle that is manufactured in its Springfield, MA, facility will be illegal under the proposed MA law. (S&W)

Since 2004, Massachusetts has banned the purchase of military-style assault rifles and high-capacity magazines within the state; now, Democratic lawmakers want to take it a step further. 

Back in April, Democrats in the Massachusetts Legislature filed bill HD 4192/SD 2588 that would prohibit Massachusetts companies, such as Smith & Wesson, from manufacturing weapons and devices covered under the existing ban, exempting those that would be sold to law enforcement, the military, or foreign governments.

Representative Marjorie Decker (D-Cambridge), one of the bill’s authors said, “If we no longer produce and manufacture military-style assault weapons here in Massachusetts and we impact the ability [of] private citizens to access these weapons, we know there will be fewer mass shootings. 

“We know [fewer] people will die.”