Unwelcome business vs. greener pastures: The reason behind Smith & Wesson’s Tennessee move

Share:

By Larry Keane and our friends at NSSF

The decision to move a flagship manufacturer isn’t easy. It’s also not hard when legislators target an industry for destruction.

That’s the case with Smith & Wesson Brands, Inc., which recently announced it will move its headquarters and a large portion of their manufacturing from Springfield, Mass., to Marysville, Tenn.

The company has been rooted in western Massachusetts since it was founded in 1852. In 2023, it will open the doors to their new manufacturing facility and headquarters nearly 900 miles south.

That’s not an easy decision. The company will invest hundreds of millions to build a new production plant. It will consolidate warehousing from Missouri to the Tennessee location. That’s where Smith & Wesson will transition the production of semiautomatic pistols and rifles, while revolvers will continue to be produced in Massachusetts. That move will require transferring 750 jobs.

Mark Smith, Smith & Wesson’s President and CEO in stated in a press release:

“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,” 

Tightening Grip

In other words, it was about corporate survival. Massachusetts has become increasingly hostile to gun owners and gun manufacturers. The state has among the strictest gun control laws in the nation.

State lawmakers banned Modern Sporting Rifles (MSRs) in 1998. State Attorney General Maura Healey expanded that crackdown on lawful firearm ownership with a 2016 Enforcement Notice that alleged firearm retailers were violating the state’s law by making small tweaks to certain firearms.

The Enforcement Notice warned retailers those so-called “copies” or “duplicates” of the firearms specifically listed in the state law were illegal for sale, but that notice was vague and NSSF, along with two Bay State retailers, challenged the notice in court.

Attorney General Healey agreed to clarify the notice after two years of legal wrangling.

This was an example of the hostility state authorities held against firearm industry members, but it was a status quo. Smith & Wesson could manufacturer their popular M&P 15 line of MSRs, but they weren’t available for sale to law-abiding citizens in their own state.

The decision point came when lawmakers directly targeted the firearm manufacturer’s ability to do business. Dual bills were filed in the state legislature (HD 4192/SD 2588) that would prohibit firearm manufacturers from manufacturing MSRs. The proposal includes banning so-called “assault weapons” and magazines capable of holding 10 or more cartridges.

“We are under attack by the state of Massachusetts,” Smith told reporters. The move is anticipated to cost $125 million “that I didn’t want to spend.”

Smith explained in the press release that the proposed Massachusetts legislation would prevent Smith & Wesson from manufacturing MSRs, despite the fact they are lawfully owned by citizens in 43 other states. There, they’re used for lawful purposes by law-abiding owners daily, including uses for recreational target shooting, hunting and self-defense.

That would have also meant Smith & Wesson would have been forced to sacrifice products that comprise 60 percent of their reported $1.1 billion revenue. There are over 20 million MSRs in circulation today and they are the most-popular selling centerfire rifle on the market.

Strictly Business

Smith explained to media:

“Honestly, we know we could have defeated it this session,”

He added:

“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.

Republican Gov. Bill Lee said in a press statement.

“Our pro-business reputation, skilled workforce, and commitment to the Second Amendment make Tennessee an ideal location for firearms manufacturing,”

He added:

 “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.

Do you want to join our private family of first responders and supporters?  Get unprecedented access to some of the most powerful stories that the media refuses to show you.  Proceeds get reinvested into having active, retired and wounded officers, their families and supporters tell more of these stories.  Click to check it out.

LET Unity

NSSF: Careful CNN, your anti-gun bias is showing while you give criminals a free pass

September 30, 2021

By Larry Keane and our friends at NSSF

CNN’s not even pretending to hide their anti-gun bias these days. Two reports over the weekend painted gun owners as a scourge on America while at the same time giving criminals – and Chinese communists – a free pass.

CNN posted a report on the soaring level of criminal violence in America. The report’s headline stated that 2021 could be the worst year in decades when it comes to crime.

Statistics were cited from the Gun Violence Archive through mid-September, noting that 14,516 people died from what they define as gun violence, a nine percent increase over 2020.

CNN also reported Gun Violence Archive’s data showed mass shootings are on the rise, claiming 498 were committed through mid-September, or 1.92 each day of the year. That ticked up, according to their calculations, by 15 percent over last year.

CNN and Gun Violence Archive define mass shootings as four or more people killed or wounded in an incident, excluding the suspect. That’s not how the FBI defines it, though.

Armed American News’ Lee Williams pointed out earlier this year the figures are being inflated for shock value.

Gun Violence Archive reported that in 2019 there were 417 mass shootings, but the FBI counted just 30, because they stick to a traditionally accepted definition. The FBI excludes incidents of self-defense, gang violence, drug violence and others.

CNN presented this report of crime spiking alongside information that firearm sales were also at record levels. The pairing of the information leads a reader to believe that there’s a correlation between the two – or even causation.

The inference is that because guns are selling at record levels, criminal violence is the result.

Facts Matter

In fact, gun sales are at records levels. More than 21 million background checks were conducted for the sale of a gun in 2020 and so far in 2021, there have been over 12.4 million.

Last year, an estimated 8.4 million people purchased a firearm for the first time and in the first six months of this year, over 3.2 million have also legally bought their first gun.

CNN’s article briefly touched on what might be driving the crime spike, pinning the causes on the pandemic and racial strife. However, COVID-19 symptoms don’t include sudden lawlessness or violent criminal intent. The report glosses over the tolerance by elected officials for rioting, looting and burning of cities.

Portland, Ore., witnessed riots for over 100 days straight. Judges turned criminals out on reduced and no bail policies, only to have those criminals standing before the bench hours later for more heinous charges including murder.

The authors attempted to link rising crime with increased gun buying, not for a moment pausing to think that gun sales rose because of rising crime. It is an anathema to some reporters that Americans would defend themselves against lawlessness.

Praising Communist China

That wasn’t enough for CNN, though. The news outlet drew comparisons between the United States and China. They posited that both countries were born of armed conflict and now have radically different gun policies. The authors praised Communist China’s low rate of criminal violence involving a firearm.

“The difference is stark when it comes to public safety,” the CNN authors wrote. “Despite being the world’s most populous country, with 1.4 billion residents, China only records a few dozen gun crimes a year.”

CNN completely whitewashed that America was a nation founded in protecting personal liberties while China’s revolution was a communist takeover. The disarmament policies instituted by Mao Zedong not only stripped Chinese of their firearms, Chinese also lost the ability to protect themselves against their own government.

The Washington Post reported Mao’s bloody campaign to “purify class ranks” resulted in the deaths of as many as 40-80 million Chinese.

That started with landowners in 1949 and later included Christians, Chinese Nationalist sympathizers, counter revolutionaries and “bad elements,” which included tens of thousands to millions executed in the 1950s by government authorities that controlled all the arms. Other deaths are attributed to disastrous policies that resulted in widespread famine.

About Control, Not Just Guns

This all seems outlandish, but this is what is being pushed by mainstream media. It’s not a new notion, but one that National Review’s Kevin Williamson noted in a series of articles that gun control groups and the politicians that carry their mantra into Congress and state capitals are keen on instituting gun laws on gun owners – who are exceedingly law-abiding.

Gun purchasers are required to pass the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), or similar state systems before they can take possession of a firearm.

Criminals don’t pass background checks. They go around them and illegally obtain guns. They also don’t care, Williamson wrote. The striking part is gun control politicians aren’t proposing to hold criminals responsible.

They’re only targeting the law-abiding. Williamson pointed out that gun control isn’t interested in controlling guns as much as they are interested in controlling gun culture.

“From that point of view, what matters is not that retail gun dealers and their clients are dangerous — which they certainly are not — but that they are icky.”

That notion was cemented even among a minority of gun owners who supported the view put forth by a New York Times columnist about the need for increased gun control.

The commenter started with, “As a gun-owner and carry-concealed holder in Oklahoma,” and later distorted the Second Amendment before tarring every AR-15 owner as a loudmouth braggards with little-man complexes.

“That kind of sneering really gets to the heart or the issue — this is not a crime-policy debate, but a culture-war exercise. It’s not ‘these guns,’ it’s ‘these people,’” Williamson wrote.

That’s what makes it easy for CNN to dismiss gun owners while overlooking criminals and murderous regimes when pushing a gun control narrative. It’s not really about the guns. It’s about you.

Want to make sure you never miss a story from Law Enforcement Today?  With so much “stuff” happening in the world on social media, it’s easy for things to get lost.  

Make sure you click “following” and then click “see first” so you don’t miss a thing!  (See image below.)  Thanks for being a part of the LET family!
 
Facebook Follow First
Share:
Related Posts