Troy Industries, an 18-year-old manufacturer of gun parts and shooting accessories, announced Thursday it will move its headquarters and manufacturing from West Springfield to Tennessee citing the “changing climate” for firearms manufacturers in Massachusetts.
The move involves 75 jobs and a $7.2 million investment in Clarksville, Tenn.
Neither the state of Tennessee nor the company said in its releases what, if any, subsidies, tax breaks or incentives Troy Industries will receive. But a state spokeswoman said information would be available within 30 days.
Nor did founder Steve Troy go into any detail and no one from the company responded to calls Thursday.
The company already said it has begun recruiting in Tennessee.
The only recent talk of new gun regulations in Beacon Hill is a proposal backed by the group Stop Handgun Violence and lawmakers including state Rep. Bud Williams, D-Springfield, that would ban the manufacture of firearms in Massachusetts that are banned from sale here.
“It’s unfortunate that they have taken that position,” Williams said. “I guess it is in response to the ban on making assault weapons.”
But Williams said there are simply too many mass shootings.
“Too many of these weapons are getting into the hands of the wrong people,” he said. “We are saying they could manufacture them. But sell to the police. Sell to the military. Sell to people who should have them.”
He predicted tighter national regulations anyway.
“Massachusetts always leads the nation,” Williams said.
But he would have wished for the opportunity to discuss the issue.
“I’m sorry they feel that way,” Williams said.
He also added that the proposed bill is in the early stages. It barely has a bill number There are no hearings even scheduled.
Three other states — California, New York and New Jersey — have a ban on the manufacturing of assault weapons.
There are at least 24 gun manufacturers in Massachusetts, including industry giant Smith & Wesson and Savage Arms in Westfield and the industry supports roughly 7,800 jobs in Massachusetts, according to state statistics. The gun industry here is largely the legacy of Springfield Armory and its century of innovation.
West Springfield Mayor William Reichelt said he hadn’t spoken with Troy about its relocation.
He said it is disappointing news. But he said there are manufacturers approaching him and his staff all the time looking for available space, so he is confident that another manufacturer will grow in the Troy Arms building on Capital Drive near Interstate 91.
“If they are leaving because of state politics they are not going to bother coming to the town hall,” Reichelt said.
Smith & Wesson with its 1,600 local workers is apparently unfazed, Williams said. He passed a sign Thursday advertising a hiring fair.
And there is no trend of gun manufacturers leaving blue states. Connecticut has a strong firearms industry and in New York. Remington Arms has reopened its plant in Ilion.
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