Mass. gun legislation could prompt more businesses to move | News
SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) — News gaining national attention, gun manufacturer Smith and Wesson is moving their Springfield headquarters to Tennessee, impacting more than 500 jobs here in western Mass.
This is raising concern that it could be part of a growing trend.
This comes with pending legislation in Massachusetts that would prohibit Smith and Wesson from making around 60 percent of their product line. One local expert said with the low costs in Tennessee, this is a big wake-up call for the state.
“You don’t want to stay even in your hometown you’ve been here since 1852 if you’re not wanted,” A.L. Cignoli Company President Tony Cignoli said.
Gun manufacturer Smith and Wesson has been repeatedly under fire by local activists urging them to step up to help stop mass shootings.
Now with legislation in the works that would prohibit the company from making around 60 percent of their product line, they’re picking up their Springfield-based headquarters created in the 1800s and moving to Tennessee by 2023, impacting more than 500 local jobs.
“We represent a lot of corporate clients around Massachusetts and around America, and in Tennessee, this move by Smith and Wesson is one that’s understandable because of the enticement of Tennessee,” Cignoli said.
Local businessman and political consultant Cignoli said with no income tax in Tennessee, and a low overall tax rate, Smith and Wesson’s decision is a perfect storm of factors driving them right out of town.
“I would say every few months I’m having a corporate client here say to me they’ve got an outreach an enticement,” Cignoli explained.
This isn’t the first company to pack up and leave western Mass.
In May, Troy Industries of West Springfield, another gun manufacturer, announced they were moving to Tennessee, citing the changing climate for firearms in Massachusetts.
Cignoli said it’s not out of the question for more local businesses to consider similar moves.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if in the course of the next few weeks you’ll see a lot of advertising and marketing coming out of Tennessee saying look what we just took out of Massachusetts,” Cignoli said.
He said right now it’s important to focus on these impacted families and also how to make sure these situations don’t happen again.
“What do we do moving forward what do we do about the 550 folks that will lose their jobs eventually,” Cignoli said.
Smith and Wesson has said some manufacturing will still take place in Springfield keeping around 1,000 jobs in Massachusetts.