Smith & Wesson announced in the fall of 2021 it was relocating to Tennessee when the Democrat-led state legislature announced anti-gun legislation to ban the sale and possession of AR-15-style rifles and even their 30-round magazines. That decision ended a legacy that dated back to 1860 and helped Smith & Wesson executives end years of internal debate.
Smith & Wesson’s announcement followed a trend of competitors such as Beretta and Remington Arms pulling up stakes in blue states and moving to welcoming red states.
“They’re going where they’re wanted,” attorney John Harris, who leads the Tennessee Firearms Association, told The Washington Post last year.
Mike Hammond, who is legislative counsel to Gun Owners of America, tells AFN firearms manufacturers are being forced to make huge business decisions but it is really the gun-hating Left, he says, that is forcing their hand.
“In places like Massachusetts, gun companies are moving out,” he says, “because the states are effectively making it illegal to use their product or alternatively are making it illegal to even manufacture the product.”
That is certainly the case for Smith & Wesson. The company manufactures numerous variants of the AR-15, such as the popular M&P 15, and the company has said those popular rifles now account for 60% of company revenue.
Democrats, meanwhile, all but melt down over the wildly popular AR-15, like sunlight to Count Dracula. A favorite of gun owners for its accuracy, versatile accessories, and light recoil, the semi-auto rifle has become Enemy No. 1 of critics who call them “assault weapons” and “weapons of war.”
Just this week, in fact, President Biden falsely claimed the AR-15 round travels “five times faster” than any bullet shot from all other firearms. He also vowed to ban them in that same speech.
Beyond demonizing the rifle, Democrats in Congress are vowing to bankrupt the gun manufacturers by making them legally responsible, in court, for how they are misused. A 2005 law currently protects them from liability, a law Democrats tried to overturn last year but failed due to the filibuster.
Remington Arms, however, paid a $75 million settlement last year after the Sandy Hook gunman used its AR-15 brand rifle in that school massacre.
The company moved its headquarters from New York state to LaGrange, Georgia this year.
“The true objective of the Left,” Hammond tells AFN, “is becoming clear: That is to ban civilian ownership of guns."