SPRINGFIELD, MA—Weapons maker Smith & Wesson announced last week that it will relocate its headquarters to Tennessee in 2023, citing the increasingly hostile political climate here. The 169-year-old weapons manufacturer will shift 750 jobs to Maryville, TN, where local officials agreed to provide tax abatements and other inducements.
Chief Executive Mark Smith cited recently introduced legislation in Massachusetts that, if enacted, "would prohibit the company from manufacturing certain firearms in the state," according to 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," says Smith. "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."
Smith & Wesson plans to keep more than 1,000 jobs in Massachusetts. Staff in Massachusetts will continue to perform metalworking, design engineering and other functions. However, Smith & Wesson will close facilities in Connecticut and Missouri and shift some functions to Tennessee.
Tennessee's Republican Governor, Bill Lee, welcomed the announcement and said the shift would result in $125 million in new investment in Tennessee and create 750 jobs. Local officials agreed to road construction and utility upgrades as part of a tax abatement agreement with Smith & Wesson.