Progressives Drive Smith & Wesson From Massachusetts [OPINION]
Memorial Field in Springfield, directly across Roosevelt Avenue from Smith & Wesson's world headquarters, has seen its share of anti-gun rallies and protests through the years. The protestors appear to have won at least a small victory against the 169-year old gunmaker. Smith & Wesson has announced plans to move its headquarters from Massachusetts to Maryville, Kentucky.
While Smith & Wesson plans to keep more than 1,000 employees in Massachusetts, at least for now, the company says the move to Kentucky will cost Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Missouri up to 750 jobs, mostly from its Springfield operation. So who really wins here?
Gun control activists and loony left-wing progressive politicians in Massachusetts have made life difficult for Smith & Wesson. The State House News Service reported company president and CEO Mark Smith said proposed Beacon Hill legislation would prohibit his company from manufacturing certain types of guns and accessories, like assault weapons and high-capacity magazines covered under the state's existing ban on their purchase and possession.
Those bills would prevent Smith & Wesson from manufacturing firearms that are legal in almost every other state in America and that are safely used by tens of millions of law-abiding citizens every day exercising their Constitutional Second Amendment rights, protecting themselves and their families and enjoying the shooting sports," Smith said, according to SHNS. Smith said these products accounted for over 60 percent of the company's revenue last year.
In a joint statement the sponsors of the legislation, Rep. Marjorie Decker and Sen. Cynthia Creem, both Democrats, called Smith's reasons for moving the company's headquarters to Kentucky "a politically convenient and disingenuous Trojan horse." Decker and her progressive colleagues want Smith & Wesson to market certain products only to the military and law enforcement agencies.
Government interference into Smith & Wesson's business is just one of the reasons the company is heading for the hills of Kentucky. The Bluegrass State is also a hell of a lot more business-friendly than Massachusetts is. Taxes, utilities, workers comp, and government mandates are considerably less in Kentucky than here – and they support Second Amendment rights in Kentucky.
Progressive anti-business policies will continue to drive businesses and jobs away from Massachusetts, but hey, there is always government dependence to fall back on.
Barry Richard is the host of The Barry Richard Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from noon to 3 p.m. Contact him at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @BarryJRichard58. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.