New England-born Smith & Wesson will maintain 1,000 employees at its sprawling factory on Roosevelt Avenue even after opening and staffing up its new headquarters and plant in Tennessee.
Smith & Wesson hosted a ribbon-cutting Saturday, Oct. 7, for its new 650,000-square-foot facility in Marysville, Tennessee.
Born in 1852, Smith & Wesson has a long history in Springfield.
Smith & Wesson in 2021 said that it would move its headquarters, distribution and plastics manufacturing and assembly work on semi-automatic handguns and semi-automatic military-style rifles.
The state of Tennessee gave the project a $9 million grant.
The industrial development board there also has an agreement with Smith & Wesson where the gunmaker will only pay 40% of the taxes it would normally owe.
That amounts to a 60% tax break each year for the first seven years of the project. At the end of that seven years, Smith & Wesson will be able to buy the factory for just one dollar.
In return, according to documents filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, Smith & Wesson promised to create 620 jobs and sustain an hourly wage averaging $25.97 an hour.
At the time it announced the move, Smith & Wesson cited gun-friendly policies in Republican-led Tennessee and legislation – introduced but never passed – in Massachusetts that would have banned it from making firearms here that are not authorized for sale here.
Massachusetts law prohibits the sale, transfer or possession of assault-style weapons and large-capacity feeding devices with 10 or more rounds.
On Friday, state lawmakers debate a separate but sweeping revamp of Massachusetts tough gun laws. Proposed legislation could require the serialization of firearm parts, update the state’s assault weapons ban and limit the ability to carry guns in certain places.
Smith & Wesson, in a series of emails, said this week that it will keep some of its manufacturing operations in Springfield including the forge, metal working, machining, finishing, assembly of Browning 1911-style handguns and revolver assembly. About 500 blue-collar jobs from Springfield will move to the Tennessee factory .
As of Thursday, Smith & Wesson was advertising job openings in Springfield for positions like pipefitters and toolmakers.
Nothing will change at the Smith & Wesson factory in Houlton, Maine, where about 300 Smith & Wesson workers make handcuffs and other restraint devices along with machined parts.
In a change from the announced plans, Smith & Wesson will sell the Deep River, Connecticut, factory it uses for custom plastic injection molding services, rapid prototyping, and tooling instead of closing it.
Smith & Wesson had predicted it would lay off 129 workers there by December 2024.
The Connecticut River Valley was long known as “gun valley,” its precision on manufacturing expertise gestated at the Springfield Armory starting in 1777.
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