Gun manufacturer Smith & Wesson opened a new headquarters in Tennessee on Saturday after moving from its longtime home in Massachusetts to a more gun-friendly state. The company built a new 650,000-square feet building in Maryville, Tenn., as part of a $125 million relocation plan, the Associated Press reports. Tours were offered at the new facility on Saturday. The gunmaker had been in Springfield, Mass., since the mid-19th century. Company officials have said legislative proposals in that state would prohibit them from manufacturing certain weapons. Massachusetts has some of the strictest U.S. gun laws.
“From where I stand, the next 170 years of Smith & Wesson are looking pretty good,” said company president Mark Smith. “It is something special here in Tennessee.” He cited a welcoming regulatory environment and collaboration with the Tennessee state government as a crucial piece of the plan to relocate. The company says the new facility would create hundreds of jobs. Tennessee has moved to loosen gun restrictions in recent years. The state passed a law to allow most adults 21 and older to carry handguns without a permit that requires first clearing a state-level background check and training.