Massachusetts Gun Company Moving To Friendlier State

Michael A. Mariant

TROY Industries (also known as TROY Defense) is packing up its bags and fleeing the state of Massachusetts for the greener pastures of Tennessee. In a statement, company founder Steve Troy made it clear that the anti-gun ideology in control of state government forced his hand.

“While TROY has enjoyed a very successful period of growth in Massachusetts, the changing climate for firearms manufacturers in the state determined the need for our relocation to Tennessee to ensure the continued success of the company.  We are excited to begin this new venture and appreciate all the support we have already received from Representative Mark Green, Governor Bill Lee and the state of Tennessee in making this relocation possible.”

Gov. Lee sounds pretty excited about the move as well.

“I appreciate TROY for choosing to relocate to Tennessee and am proud to partner with this world-renowned firearms manufacturer. When companies pick Tennessee to locate or expand their operations, it is a vote of confidence to our state’s business-friendly climate and skilled workforce,” Lee said. “I thank TROY for this investment and the creation of new jobs for Tennesseans.”

TROY’s move may be the start of a “Mass exodus” in the months ahead. Democrats have introduced a bill that would make it illegal for gun makers to build any firearms that are banned in the state, which would make it impossible for manufacturers of modern sporting rifles to continue to do business there.

The bill (HD 4192 / SD 2588) filed Tuesday would prohibit Massachusetts companies such as Smith & Wesson from manufacturing assault weapons and high-capacity magazines covered under the state’s existing ban on their purchase and possession. Anything manufactured to be sold to law enforcement, the military or foreign governments would be exempt from the newly proposed ban, and handguns — which are used in a vast majority of gun violence — would not be affected.

Massachusetts first implemented a state ban on assault weapons in 1998, when a similar federal law was already in place. In 2004, Republican Gov. Mitt Romney signed a permanent ban into law shortly before the federal policy expired.

Supporters described the ability of Massachusetts companies to manufacture weapons they are banned from selling in the state as a “loophole” in the current law. Lawmakers who filed the new bill said banning the manufacture of most assault weapons would help reduce the toll of gun violence, particularly mass shootings, elsewhere in America.

“If we no longer produce and manufacture military-style assault weapons here in Massachusetts and we impact the ability for private citizens to access these weapons, we know there will be fewer mass shootings,” said Rep. Marjorie Decker, a Cambridge Democrat and one of the bill’s authors. “We know less people will die.”

Just out of curiousity, I wonder how many of these Democrats who are okay with police still being able to have these firearms agree with the gun control advocates like Shannon Watts who’ve declared that “police violence is gun violence”?

Of course, the Massachusetts bill has no chance of preventing a single gun from being made. I’d wager that no gun company is going to be forced out of business if the Massachusetts bill passes; not when every red state in the country is trying to woo the firearms industry. West Virginia recently passed a law that gives companies that relocate huge savings on their property taxes, and many other states have incentivized companies in the firearms industry ready and willing to plant new roots in more fertile soil.

The real danger to Massachusetts isn’t that these companies will keep making modern sporting rifles, it’s that they’ll start paying their taxes in another state. This bill was designed to send a message to Massachusetts gun companies, and they’re receiving it loud and clear, which is why TROY won’t be the last outfit to flee the state. The anti-gun Democrats in charge of the statehouse may hate gun companies, but they have no problem spending the money they send to the state every year. That’s going to change, but maybe Republicans in places like Tennessee, Texas, and West Virginia will send them thank-you notes to show their appreciation for the new revenue windfalls.