The Smith & Wesson company ditched its longtime home in a New England blue state to move its headquarters to the more gun-friendly state of Tennessee.
The gun manufacturer has been based in Springfield, Massachusetts after its founding in Connecticut in 1852. But on Saturday, it held an official ribbon-cutting ceremony celebrating the opening of its new headquarters now in Maryville, Tennessee. Plans for the new 650,000-square-foot facility were announced in 2021 and on October 7, Mark Smith, the president and CEO of Smith & Wesson, noted that it was the “unwavering support” of the Second Amendment in Tennessee that led to the decision to relocate.
“The unwavering support for the Second Amendment, and our business, and our industry that we feel in Tennessee at the end of the day was the absolute, hands down, deal maker for us,” Smith said, according to WATE.
Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn. spoke at the event as did Si Robertson of “Duck Dynasty” fame. And while many were on hand to celebrate, the inevitable anti-gun activists also made their views known in a peaceful protest. Smith welcomed their views and said that their First Amendment rights were not to be discouraged.
“We fully respect everybody’s rights, all their Constitutional rights, and the First Amendment’s one of their Constitutional rights,” Smith said. “That’s one of the beautiful things about this country, is that we’re free to disagree with each other.”
“From where I stand, the next 170 years of Smith & Wesson are looking pretty good. It is something special here in Tennessee,” Smith said at the grand opening.
“Once we’re fully up and operational, we should have between 700 and 800 people working here out of this facility,” he also said.
It was great to join @LtGovMcNally, Senator @MarshaBlackburn, and other great community leaders in Maryville today for the ribbon cutting for Smith and Wesson. After 170 years in Massachusetts, we are excited for their new start in the most business friendly state – Tennessee! pic.twitter.com/29DNQvGCkO — Speaker Cameron Sexton (@CSexton25) October 7, 2023
“In Tennessee, we know that the Second Amendment is non-negotiable and are pleased to officially welcome Smith & Wesson to Maryville. Their significant investment in our state is a testament to our pro-business policies, and we look forward to their continued partnership to bolster our economic development and exceptionally skilled workforce,” Sen. Marsha Blackburn told Fox News Digital.
The National Rifle Association praised the company’s move after over 100 years in the blue state.
“Congratulations to Smith & Wesson on their grand opening in Tennessee. This move is a testament to their enduring legacy, their commitment to firearm excellence, and to the importance of preserving America’s gun industry and Second Amendment rights in a fair environment,” NRA Executive Director of Advancement Tyler Schropp told Fox News Digital.
“Representing millions of NRA members and gun owners, the NRA was proud to be the tip of the spear for the passage and enactment of the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act that saved America’s firearm industry,” Schropp added.
The Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act of 2005 protects gun manufacturers from any liability if their products are used in committing a crime.
“Smith touted state gun laws and his close work with local leaders for the move to Tennessee, describing the relocation as ‘seamless,'” Fox Business reported. “Democrat-led Massachusetts has some of the most strict gun laws in the U.S., while Republican-led Tennessee has expanded gun laws in recent years, including approving permitless carry in 2021.”
Competitive shooter Jerry Miculek was also on hand at the ribbon-cutting ceremony and used a 9 mm revolver to hit six steel plates in 1.88 seconds, setting an NRA record.
Yesterday at Smith & Wesson’s new headquarters in Tennessee, Jerry Miculek set the #NRA World Record for hitting six steel plates with a 9 mm revolver at seven yards after a 1.88-second run. Congratulations, Jerry! @Smith_WessonInc#shootingsports#CompetitiveShootingpic.twitter.com/30xjv6uAEL — Shooting Sports USA (@SSUSA_Magazine) October 7, 2023