Dems Seek to Ban 'Assault Weapon' Production in Massachusetts
A group of lawmakers in the Massachusetts legislature filed a bill this week that would end the legal production of popular semi-auto firearms in the Commonwealth.
Filed just after the Patriot's Day holiday in the state, HD.4192 would outlaw the manufacture, partially or completely, of any gun deemed an "assault weapon" under state law, or a "large capacity feeding device" capable of holding more than 10 rounds. Violators could face a $1 million fine and up to a decade in state prison.
"Military-style assault weapons are designed for the sole purpose of efficiently killing many people," said state Rep. Marjorie Decker, D-Cambridge, one of the bill's authors. "We prohibit their sale in MA and shouldn’t manufacture them here for sale in other states."
Although Massachusetts enacted an assault weapon ban in 1998, the iconic American gun maker has been headquartered in the state since the 19th Century and continues to make various models for the larger market that are unavailable inside the Commonwealth due to the regulations.
According to data from federal regulators, in 2019, the most recent figures available, Smith & Wesson manufactured 130,732 rifles. However, they were listed as being produced in the company's facility in gun-friendly Missouri, where Smith has been expanding in recent years. Notably, in 2016, ATF records show S&W making most of its rifles in its traditional Springfield, Massachusetts, plant.
Smith & Wesson, with some 1,700 employees, has been lauded by industrial trade groups in Massachusetts for their contributions to the state economy and a “rich legacy of supporting philanthropic efforts in the community throughout the decades,” to include creating manufacturing technology application programs seen as a model for the rest of the commonwealth and leading efforts to go green through the use of solar energy.
Other high-profile gun builders with smaller operations in Massachusetts include Savage Arms, Troy Industries, and Yankee Hill Machine, the latter founded in the state.