Page 16 - BusinessWest October 13, 2021
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 Massachusetts House Speaker Ronald Mariano, who told the local press that “prudent business people don’t make major decisions, especially a decision that puts hundreds of people out of a job, based on one of the thousands of bills filed each session.”
top read “Smith & Wesson to Relocate Headquarters to Tennessee,” followed by the subhead, “Move includes head- quarters and significant portion of operations due to changing business climate for firearms manufacturing in Massachusetts.”
The release went on to quote Mark Smith, president and CEO of the com- pany, saying, “this has been an extreme- ly difficult and emotional decision for us, but after an exhaustive and thor- ough analysis, for the continued health and strength of our iconic company,
we feel that we have been left with no other alternative.”
He specifically cited legislation
recently proposed in Massachusetts
that, if enacted, would prohibit the
company from manufacturing cer-
tain firearms in the state. “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 exercis-
ing their constitutional Second Amend-
ment rights, protecting themselves and
their families, and enjoying the shooting sports. While we are hopeful that this arbitrary and damaging legislation will be defeated in this ses- sion, these products made up over 60% of our revenue last year, and the unfortunate likelihood that such restrictions would be raised again led to a review of the best path forward for Smith & Wesson.”
The path taken — to Tennessee’s Blount
State Sen. Eric Lesser says Smith
& Wesson’s decision to relocate its headquarters and some operations may actually be a blessing in disguise on some levels.
“Sometimes, when one door closes, another one opens, and this may be one of those times.”
Lesser, noting the very attractive deal offered to Smith & Wes- son by Tennessee, said the company’s moti- vation for relocating probably has little to do with Bay State politics. “This is more of a classic corporate-welfare story than it is anything else.”
Which is why it shouldn’t impact Spring- field’s reputation as a manufacturing hub or its long-term poten-
tial to become more of one, noted Tim Shee-
han, the city’s director of Planning & Economic Development.
“In this type of industry, Springfield has had
a long history, and the skill levels in this area of manufacturing have been noted throughout the Connecticut River Valley,” he said. “I don’t think this sends a message about the city of Springfield — it’s a broader message.”
Targeted Response
The press release arrived in the inboxes of media outlets in this region — and well beyond — at 9:05 a.m. on Sept. 30. The headline over the
County, which proudly describes itself as a “Sec- ond Amendment sanctuary” — is similar to the one taken by Troy Industries, the West Spring- field-based maker of a wide array of guns and related products, which announced a move to Tennessee back in May.
So while there is precedent and the reloca-
Smith & Wesson
Continued on page 48
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