‘We are under attack’: Smith & Wesson CEO says gun legislation forced move away from Springfield

‘We are under attack’: Smith & Wesson CEO says gun legislation forced move away from Springfield

SPRINGFIELD — Smith & Wesson president and CEO Mark Smith says the company doesn’t want to make an enemy of the state of Massachusetts. But he feels at least some lawmakers have made an enemy of Smith & Wesson with legislation that would ban the manufacture in Massachusetts of firearms that are unlawful to sell here. The legislation is a response to mass shootings involving semiautomatic rifles made by Smith & Wesson and other companies. Advocates say high-capacity magazines and high rates of fire make the guns too dangerous for civilian hands. “We are under attack by the state of Massachusetts,” Smith said Friday. CEO for two years and operations director for a decade before that, Smith gave a tour of the bustling, half-million-square-foot factory a day after announcing the company would move its headquarters and 550 jobs in production and management to gun-friendly Maryville, Tennessee. It’s not a move the company wanted to make, he said. It will cost $125 million “that I didn’t want to spend,” Smith said. Riding a wave of brisk gun sales, mostly to first time-buyers, Smith & Wesson said revenue hit $1.1 billion in the most recent fiscal year, up from $529.6 million a year earlier. “Why would I disrupt that?” he said. Workers at the plant at 2100 Roosevelt Ave. joked and laughed Friday, but also spoke in hushed tones about their own futures and whether they will move. A team from Tennessee will be in Springfield next week recruiting Smith & […]

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