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By Larry Keane

Massachusetts state legislators have thrown a straw on the camel’s back and forced 75 jobs to pull up roots and head to the Volunteer State. Citing the Bay State’s “changing climate for firearms manufacturers,” Troy Industries is leaving for Tennessee.

Troy’s announcement highlights the growing hostility from Massachusetts lawmakers towards the firearm industry. Legislators introduced legislation to ban the outright the production of of Modern Sporting Rifles (MSRs) that are to private citizens – even those outside the commonwealth.

Troy Industries, a manufacturer of MSRs, magazines and other firearm accessories, will instead spend $7.2 million to relocate. Tennessee’s gain is Massachusetts’ loss.

Had Enough

Massachusetts was once the firearm manufacturing epicenter, roots that go back before the American Revolution. That’s not the present reality.

That’s leaving more than gun companies frustrated with state legislators. Northboro, Mass.,-based Gun Owners Action League Executive Director Jim Wallace said, “Sadly … I think there are many people who would love to see them (firearms companies) leave, but I think the state as a whole needs to review their whole outlook on this issue, and actually welcome lawful people and lawful business.”

The move is certain to shift money paid to the state too. The economic impact of the move is significant. The firearm industry in Massachusetts employs 7,800 people. Those jobs pay total wages north of $650 million dollars with an economic output in the state of nearly $2.5 billion.

Those jobs figures mean Massachusetts was in the top ten in total economic output (#6) among the states, as well as in economic impact per capita (#10).

Changes in Latitude

Wallace’s statement was prescient.

“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,” founder Steve Troy said.

troy industries

Tennessee Republican Gov. Bill Lee is already recognizing the benefit of Troy Industries’ move to his state.

“I appreciate Troy for choosing to relocate to Tennessee and am proud to partner with this world-renowned firearms manufacturer,” Gov. Lee said. “I thank Troy for this investment and the creation of new jobs for Tennesseans.”

Troy Industries will join fellow firearm makers Barrett Manufacturing and Beretta. Remaining manufacturers Smith & Wesson moved warehousing and distribution operations to Missouri and Kahr Arms already has manufacturing in Pennsylvania, a move they made when New York made business there untenable.

It’s not just Massachusetts. Weatherby left California for Wyoming. Accessories maker Hi Viz closed shop in Colorado for Wyoming too. Magpul left Colorado for Wyoming too, along with locating business operations in Texas. Connecticut-based Stag Arms announced a move to Wyoming. PTR left Connecticut for South Carolina. Kimber expanded production in Alabama over New York, and later move the company’s headquarters there. Ruger opened manufacturing in North Carolina.

But Changes in Attitude

The increased hostility and gun control push by states and even the federal government do not reflect the changing attitudes of Americans. Support for increased gun control is at the lowest levels in several years, as reported by Gallup, Washington Post/ABC, Newsweek and other polling outlets.

The rifles that Troy Industries produces – the AR-15 or MSR – are the most-popular selling centerfire rifles in America. There are more than 20 million in circulation today and are used for lawful hunting, recreational target shooting and self-defense.

Smith & Wesson factory
Smith & Wesson’s factory in Springfield, Massachusetts (photo by Dan Z. for TTAG)

The record-shattering gun-buying trends also changed the political calculus for politicians looking to impose stricter gun control on their voters. Twenty-one million National Instant Criminal Background Checks (NICS) for the sale of a firearm in 2020.

NSSF surveys estimated over 8.4 million were first-time buyers and they’re from every walk of life. The trend hasn’t slowed a bit in 2021 and demonstrates why gun control has stalled in the nation’s capital.

Out in the states, legislators shouldn’t be surprised when major manufacturers like Troy Industries call their bluff. There’s plenty of demand for firearms. Lawmakers would be wise to take note.


Larry Keane is SVP for Government and Public Affairs, Assistant Secretary and General Counsel of the National Shooting Sports Foundation.



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  1. Their hypocrisy is jaw-dropping.

    The ones who so loudly proclaim the importance of tolerance and acceptance of others not like themselves are themselves the utterly intolerant ones.

    Strange how the same folks who bristle at the suggestion of requiring a picture ID to vote refuse to extend the same courtesy when buying a gun.

    Well, if I don’t need an ID to vote, I damn sure don’t need one to buy a gun…

      • The kind of hypocrites who will fight nonstop for your “right” to agree verbatim with every tenet of leftism have a solid lock on mass media, social media, education at every level, essentially every tool for shaping public opinion; nearly every major city (even in “red” states), whole demographics, etc. Where are the defeats?

        • The left have been playing the long game since the late 50s and possibly earlier into the 1920s. Secure academia, then the media, and then politics initially covertly and then overtly. We are now in the overt phase.

    • LOL my marsupial friend! Sorry you suck Massachusetts. Tennessee is supposedly the go to state especially for retirees(not me).

    • Hey, I keep telling my wife (she’s a fine rifle and pistol marks-woman, BTW) that on comment sections gun guys are funny as all get out.

      “Not to worry, the whaling industry will make up the difference.”

      She and I laughed our fannies off after reading the above quoted statement.


      David and Lorraine

  2. Troy hired one of the HRT hitmen that murdered Vicki Weaver. When called out on it, they had the gall to double down.

    They should not be welcomed in Tennessee or anywhere. Low information gun owners need to stop buying their products.

    • It’s always a pleasure communicating online with someone who believes all gun owners lack intelligence…

      …David W. Walters, Ph.D., Baylor College of Medicine (former Marine infantry officer, 8 years, a gun owner and active sportsman.)

        • Gracious, in what field did you obtain your Ph.D.?

          I’m not trying to start an argument, but…?

      • I searched and I did not see anything related to, “all.” However you can bet your “qualifiers” there are some very stupid gun owners who are politically inept and who stand for nothing and fall for anything and who will go along to get along at the drop of a hat. And the fact is, a whole bunch of them come from the gun owner-active sportsman crowd.
        I ask you Dave…Are there some people who served in the USMC who dropped the ball and are doing time? Are there those in the medical field who have had their license to practice revoked for reasons ranging from drugs to rape to malpractice? Keep it in mind I did not say or imply, “all.”

        • Deb,

          I always respect you posts and respect this inquiry.

          Neither Marines nor medical professionals are perfect humans who never bend to temptations. Trust me, as a Marine officer I’ve put many in the brig and as a medical professional I’ve reported to authorities those who practice the sorts of excesses you query.

          In neither circumstance, military or medicine / research do such people belong. I’ve always done my part to ensure such folks don’t stay for long in their positions once their lack of professionalism is known.

          Always, love corresponding with you. You really are someone special on the net.

      • Horiuchi was the lead HRT sniper for the FBI in the combined agency action. He was brought up on charges 5 years after the incident and ultimately had his charges dismissed after the feds invoked supremacy clause actions and the case appeared before a new DA that didn’t feel he could try the case successfully after all that time had passed.

        • And, IIRC, a multimillion dollar judgement against the FBI was awarded to Weaver and has as yet been unpaid due to wrangling through the court system… try seeing how long you can get by with shit like that if you are late with your taxes.

        • At one time the Osage were the richest poor people on earth. I think the government still owes them money.

      • He meant to say X Marine officer.
        Weird, sometimes I’m a marine and sometimes I’m an x marine ?

  3. Shockingly (/sarc), the ‘leadership’ of Massachusetts will see this as a ‘win’ in their column. They will pat themselves on the back as having struck a blow against ‘gun violence’ and ‘arms merchants of death’ and ‘weapons of war’, and will truly believe that they have Saved LIVES! by the thousands, and can thus sleep better at night with unsullied hands because of defeating Systemically Racist White Supremacist Guns.
    The economic cost is, frankly, irrelevant in the face of the HUGE gain in SocialJusticeWarrior points; Should every firearms-related business leave the state, it would be considered as a net gain that would raise individual smug levels to immeasurable heights.
    And no matter the loss in money and jobs, their constituents will still vote them back into office at the next election, because Democrats are whores. Not the good kind of whores, either; They are on a whole different level of whoredom, not seen since Biblical times in Babylon. But I digress.
    Don’t try to understand them; and don’t try to make them understand you. For they are a breed apart and make no sense.

    • John in AK…….. As jobs and companies disappear, the state income will shrink. The tax base will be smaller resulting in higher taxes on the fewer people that will live there. Eventually the moneyed people will move away, call it the New York effect. Gradual decline from socialism, running out of other people’s money. Of course, the socialists in the District of Communists will just send them our tax dollars to prevent the enevitable implosion.

      • Getting to be most of the northeast including Maryland and Delaware (not sure on Pennsylvania). Oh and even with multiple billions in bailouts we still saw tax increases for most counties and school districts and a ever increasing pit of deficit spending. Oh and just for Albany silliness we had a mass shooting by aspiring rapper ‘jew money’ wounding 5 and killing one muslim immigrant from Oman after the Gaza ceasefire. I am sure there is a joke in there but a few hours later someone else was shot a few blocks away in an unrelated incident and we haven’t even started summer yet.

    • “Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience. They may be more likely to go to Heaven yet at the same time likelier to make a Hell of earth. This very kindness stings with intolerable insult. To be ‘cured’ against one’s will and cured of states which we may not regard as disease is to be put on a level of those who have not yet reached the age of reason or those who never will; to be classed with infants, imbeciles, and domestic animals.” (“Theory of Punishment” in the book “God in the Dock”) ~ C. S. Lewis

  4. “Don’t try to understand them; and don’t try to make them understand you. For they are a breed apart and make no sense.”

    Most of us have ideologies. Not all fervent ideologues have ideologies which negatively impact the constitutional rights of others. Anti-firearm liberals, well, do have such ideologies.

  5. Ironic that the founder of Troy industries is a retired Massachusetts State Trooper.

    More ironic is that Troy Industries hired former Chicago Police Superintendent Jody Weiss — a vicious gungrabber — and Dale R. Monroe, who was Lon Horiuchi’s partner at Ruby Ridge.

    Troy might have hired Horiuchi, too, but he had already been snapped up by HS Precision.

  6. If they wanted to make a real difference, they’d go on to refuse to do business with states that limit their citizens rights, like when Barrett told California to pound sand over .50 BMG rifles. Oh, Massachusetts residents can’t have our products? Then neither can Massachusetts law enforcement agencies. If enough companies did this, we might actually see real change coming down the pipe.

    • While it does help that Barrett has multiple military contracts their willingness to build workarounds (even for their semiauto over here in NY) and available catalog for civilians does have them on my list for future why the hell not purchases.

  7. You guys all seem to think that TPTB in Massachusetts see this as a bug. They don’t. This is a feature.

    Oh, you think they care about the tax revenue? LOL. Pull the other one.

    • It’s undoubtedly true that Massachusetts doesn’t care. However, it’s bad for business in the long term to operate in a hostile jurisdiction. Moving is just plain sensible management.

      • There’s nothing wrong with the company’s actions. As you say, it’s sensible.

        But from the State’s point of view, explaining this in terms of business makes no sense. TPTB see this as a good thing. They’re basically the same people who brought you Detroit, Baltimore and a dozen other cities. What they care about is power. If they have to collapse things so that they can lord over an ash heap, so much the better. Less riffraff to deal with.

        You can see the same thing in numerous EU countries on a variety of topics.

        • The area known as Palestine is a prime example. The Arabs deliberately keep them impoverished to suit their political ends…

        • @ Geoff
          Yup, I can think of a lot of others too.
          Cant have power unless you have someone to push around. And lordy lordy the Isrealites and Palestinians have been warring for what now , 7000 years?

  8. Do you not know that that is the intent of the legislature, to force firearms manufacturers out, and if they stay it is a bonus in dollars. Only when the revenue goes down will there be wailing and mashing of teeth. Only to a small extent. That will give the legislators a reason to increase taxes though.

  9. “…and Kahr Arms already has manufacturing in Pennsylvania, a move they made when New York made business there untenable.”

    You think you’re safe in Pennsyl-tucky? You’ll be out of business or packing your shit again in five years or less.

  10. These good companies should quit selling firearms to some of these state and local police forces. And if all the companies would abide you would see some change.

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