Smith & Wesson Relocates

Massachusetts Had It Coming

Bad news for Massachusetts, good news for Tennessee. Smith & Wesson is
moving part of its operation out of the Bay State. The announcement has
elicited some scathing reactions.

When Smith & Wesson announced they were moving a major part of their operation out of Springfield, Massachusetts, where it has called home since 1852, to Tennessee, I reached out to Jim Wallace, executive director of the Gun Owners’ Action League (GOAL).

By Wallace’s estimation, the state has it coming, and he is not alone in his opinion.

Amy Swearer at The Heritage Foundation had a more colorful perspective. As quoted by Forbes, “Smith & Wesson employs over 1,600 people at its Springfield manufacturing plant. The company is experiencing record growth and pays God knows how much to the state in taxes every year. Massachusetts flipped them a giant middle finger. Smith & Wesson flipped MA a bigger one.”

Via email, GOAL’s Wallace provided me with an “official” statement.

“The loss of Smith & Wesson and hundreds of jobs in Massachusetts is directly linked to the flat out bigotry that the 2A community faces in the Commonwealth,” he wrote. “And bigotry brings consequences, not that a state like ours cares. There are public officials here that would sacrifice anything and anyone to rid themselves of the ‘great unwashed’ 2A folks. Of course this state of mind is coupled with an incredible antibusiness profile that is the Bay State. It is a wonder that any business remains within our borders.”

In a subsequent telephone chat, he added, “The social experiment of gun control has been a flat out failure in Massachusetts but they just don’t care.”

According to WWLP local news, S&W President and CEO Mark Smith confirmed legislation is currently being proposed to bar gunmakers from making “certain types of guns and accessories” such as semiautomatic modern sporting rifles and their original capacity magazines. Such arms are constantly misidentified as so-called “assault weapons” and misrepresented as “weapons of war.”

WWLP identified the legislation Smith referred to as HD 4192/SD 2588, companion bills sponsored respectively by State Rep. Marjorie Decker and State Sen. Cynthia Creem earlier this year.

Smith also noted that S&W needed more space, which the company found in Tennessee’s Blount County. The move will reportedly happen in 2023, but there is much to do before then. Many employees will relocate and jobs remaining in Springfield will have to be filled.


The S&W brand has called Springfield, Mass. home since 1852.

Is This Disingenuous?

The alleged social bigotry to which Wallace alluded is practiced by ruling Bay State Democrats against firearms, the people who make them and ultimately the people who buy and own them. The veteran gun rights advocate was somewhat amused, in a sarcastic sense, at a remark from State Sen. Eric Lesser, whose district encompasses parts of Springfield, where S&W is located.

“Regardless of one’s personal views on gun control, this move is bad news for the hundreds of families who will lose stable, well-paying jobs,” Lesser reportedly acknowledged. “Looking forward, I’ve already begun conversations with relevant public and private sector leaders about suitable reuse of the space and ways to assist the 550 impacted employees through training, job placement and other means. It is my hope that the location remains vibrant and in keeping with the proud manufacturing tradition of our region.”

Lesser’s political party has pushed increasingly restrictive gun control legislation for decades. According to Wallace, it boils down to cause and effect. As Smith put it, “We are under attack by the state of Massachusetts.”


Revolver production is slated to remain in Massachusetts,
The M&P Bodyguard in .38 Special continues the legend.

Media Details

Smith & Wesson is not moving out of Springfield entirely. It is taking 550 jobs to Tennessee, although Massachusetts Live reported a higher number: 750 jobs.

The move will cost S&W a reported $125 million. This is no financial fly speck, even in the wake of the last fiscal year during which the company reportedly saw $1.1 billion in revenue. First-time gun buyers over the past 19 months were a massive contributor. By some estimates, at least 8 million people bought guns for the first time following the COVID-19 outbreak. This upward trend continued during the summer of 2020 with violent protests ignited by the death of George Floyd.

Forbes offered more details in its report. The move includes the relocation of S&W’s “distribution, assembly, and plastic injection molding operations to Tennessee.”

Why Tennessee? As suggested in a release by the Tennessee state government, the Volunteer state offers “a greater embrace of Second Amendment rights and a more favorable business environment.”

There is also an economic advantage. As noted by MassLive, the cost of living in Tennessee is an estimated 15 percent lower than the national average while it is 35 percent higher in Massachusetts. In other words, a dollar stretches further.

A company statement quoted S&W’s Smith: “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.”

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One of the most iconic wheelguns S&W ever produced: the 2 ½-inch Model 19 in .357 Magnum.

Do These People Get It?

When it comes to covering the bases, Forbes went the proverbial extra mile, reporting the reaction of Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action, the Michael Bloomberg-supported subsidiary of Everytown for Gun Safety. Her contribution to the drama was this: “NEW: Smith & Wesson just announced it’s leaving Massachusetts and relocating its headquarters to Tennessee, a state that passed permitless carry this year despite widespread opposition from law enforcement and Tennesseans. #tnleg.”

Then came a quote from the Massachusetts Coalition to Prevent Gun Violence:“Amid mounting pressure for tougher gun laws, the company has become increasingly controversial in deep blue Massachusetts… In 2018, students from across the state rallied outside its Springfield headquarters to call for stricter gun laws.”

The state’s turn to “deep blue” is costing it money. Remember the axiom, “Money talks and…” well, you know what walks. In this case, money is both talking and walking…to another state.

WWLP noted the aforementioned Rep. Decker was joined by colleague Rep. Frank Moran in a joint statement declaring S&W’s move to be “a politically convenient and disingenuous Trojan horse when in fact they are also moving jobs from Connecticut and Missouri…Even if our bill were to become law, Smith & Wesson would still be able to manufacture these weapons in Massachusetts for military and law enforcement use. These weapons were designed for military use.”

Connecticut is no bastion of Second Amendment protection, and building firearms for military and law enforcement isn’t the point. The modern sporting rifle is the most popular rifle today in the civilian market. They’re not designed for military use; they’re designed for private citizens to use in all sorts of endeavors, including competition, recreational shooting, hunting, predator control and personal and home defense.


Bottom Line

In business there’s always a bottom line. In politics, there’s a line not to be crossed.

In Massachusetts, the lines have intersected. People responsible for making it untenable for S&W to maintain its full operation in Springfield evidently don’t understand this.

Perhaps one election day they will.