Smith & Wesson pulls out of Massachusetts after gun ban proposals

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Smith & Wesson, seen here at the Gun Safe Summit in June, has been making guns in New Britain for more than 110 years US gun company Smith…

Smith & Wesson pulls out of Massachusetts after gun ban proposals

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Smith & Wesson, seen here at the Gun Safe Summit in June, has been making guns in New Britain for more than 110 years

US gun company Smith & Wesson is moving its headquarters out of Massachusetts after a state panel proposed a ban on assault weapons and ammunition.

The company said it could not remain in the state “in the aftermath of extreme violence and public shootings”.

In June, a man killed three people and himself in New York using a handgun the company sold him.

A ban on assault weapons is currently under review by the state legislature.

Experts said the company, which is based in Smithtown, New York, will move its headquarters to Nashville, Tennessee.

‘Wildfire of violence’

The commission, appointed by the state governor, has been debating a ban on assault weapons and ammunition magazines holding more than 10 rounds, and more stringent regulations of those who are licensed to own one.

Smith & Wesson’s CEO James Debney called the proposals “mean-spirited and misguided”.

He said they showed an unwillingness to look at the complex relationship between gun safety and public safety, saying: “It’s difficult to even begin to comprehend how you would make the massive changes we all believe are necessary and would represent a clear and unequivocal solution to prevent this violence… That is until you stop and consider that 99.9% of the guns used to commit crimes in Massachusetts were legally possessed and thus could not potentially be subject to these severely flawed proposals.”

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Smith & Wesson CEO James Debney (left) is seen in June with Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker

The company has made handguns and rifles in Massachusetts for more than 110 years. The headquarters has been on the New Britain waterfront for over 90 years.

In a statement the company said: “Like so many others in manufacturing, Smith & Wesson Corporation is not immune to the wild, unpredictable and uncontrollable forces outside of our control, and recent events have forced us to pause and take a step back from what is an incredibly dynamic industry and challenging environment.”

Opponents of the proposed ban said that regulations were needed to make sure the products were kept out of the hands of people who are mentally ill.

The proposed changes in Massachusetts are part of the package of laws that took effect in May following the Parkland, Florida, school shooting in February.

In June, a gunman shot dead a police officer in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, after taking the officer’s gun.

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