Stop Handgun Violence (SHV), a Massachusetts-based non-profit organization committed to preventing gun violence, reacts to Smith and Wesson’s announcement that it will move operations from Springfield, MA to Tennessee due to pending legislation that would ban the manufacture in Massachusetts of assault weapons that cannot be legally sold in the Commonwealth.
“We’re not surprised by the news that Smith and Wesson is moving to Tennessee,” said John Rosenthal, founder of Stop Handgun Violence. “A review of the company’s manufacturing data reported to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, indicated that 98% of the firearms they manufactured in 2019 were manufactured out of state already. It is clear that Smith and Wesson is no longer the company that it was when it was founded in 1852 and has no interest in operating in a state that puts the public safety of their citizens ahead of unfettered access to deadly weapons designed for war. Smith and Wesson used to be a leader on child safety and gun owner responsibility. That changed 20 years ago when they sold to a private equity firm and began to focus their business on the sale of the most dangerous weapons available in the civilian market including military style assault weapons designed to outgun law enforcement and injure and kill as many people as possible without having to reload. Other than for police, we have banned these deadly military style assault weapons in Massachusetts. This is one of the critical reasons that urban Massachusetts has the lowest gun death rate, the lowest cost of gun violence and has effectively reduced the rate of gun deaths by 40% in the Commonwealth since 1994. We are disappointed that Smith and Wesson is continuing to move jobs out of the Commonwealth rather than keep making military style weapons for the military and law enforcement. Once again, Smith and Wesson is prioritizing profits and the manufacture of weapons of mass destruction for civilian use vs for police and the military. Thereby, once again choosing cost cutting over people and public safety.”