Gun manufacturer Smith & Wesson hosted a grand opening of its new Tennessee headquarters Saturday after moving from its longtime home in Massachusetts to a more gun-friendly state.
The company built a new 650,000-square feet (60,387-square meters) headquarters in Maryville, Tennessee, as part of a $125 million relocation plan announced in 2021. Tours were offered at the new facility on Saturday.
The gunmaker had been located in Springfield, Massachusetts, since the mid-19th century, but company officials have said legislative proposals in that state would prohibit them from manufacturing certain weapons. Massachusetts is known to have some of the country’s strictest gun laws.
Smith & Wesson President and CEO Mark Smith spoke at the event Saturday, which drew a large crowd to the new facility, The Daily Times reported.
“From where I stand, the next 170 years of Smith & Wesson are looking pretty good,” Smith said. “It is something special here in Tennessee.”
He cited a welcoming regulatory environment and close collaboration with the Tennessee state government as a crucial piece of the plan to relocate. The company has said the new facility would create hundreds of jobs.
Tennessee has moved to loosen gun restrictions in recent years under Republican leadership. In 2021, the state passed a law to allow most adults 21 and older to carry handguns without a permit that requires first clearing a state-level background check and training.