Lawmakers Seek to Outlaw Production of Modern Sporting Rifles in Massachusetts

Last week, several Democratic lawmakers introduced a bill that would prohibit gun manufacturers from making “any assault weapon or large capacity feeding device” in Massachusetts.  

Politicians have already banned black rifles for civilians use, however, licensed gun companies can still produce them under the law and export them to free states.  

“Assault, military-style weapons manufactured right here in Massachusetts have been used to kill and slaughter children and people across the nation from Parkland to Aurora to San Bernadino to Las Vegas and too many other communities,” said State Rep. Marjorie Decker, the sponsor of the legislation, to The Boston Herald.   

“This bill is an acknowledgment that some of safe protections in Massachusetts due to our own common sense gun-ownership laws, that we want to extend some of those protections to people who live in other states across the country,” she added. 

GunsAmerica reached out to the National Shooting Sports Foundation, the firearms industry trade association, to get an idea of how this bill could impact Bay State gun makers.  

“This political stunt Massachusetts lawmakers are undertaking risks 7,800 jobs, $4.5 million paid in state and federal taxes and a $2.49 billion total economic impact in the state,” said Mark Oliva in an email.  

“These lawmakers aren’t satisfied enough with denying their own citizens’ rights to purchase and possess the most popular selling centerfire rifle in America,” he continued.  “They would haphazardly destroy a historic and productive industry in their state to deny law-abiding citizens in other states those rights as well.”

SEE ALSO: Appeals Court Upholds Massachusetts ‘Assault Weapons’ Ban

Oliva went on to say that Massachusetts is home to three major firearms manufacturers: Smith & Wesson, Savage Arms and Kahr Arms.  

“Two of those manufacturers produce Modern Sporting Rifles (MSRs),” he said. “Kahr Arms already ceased production in New York and left that state for Pennsylvania over onerous gun control laws.”

He noted that Smith & Wesson has already relocated distribution and warehousing operations to Missouri, and “there’s a long history of firearm, ammunition and accessories manufacturers, who have done the same because of restrictive gun control laws or punishing business climates, including Remington, Beretta, Mossberg, Ruger, Kimber, Magpul, Weatherby, Olin Corporation’s Winchester Ammunition, LMT and Stag Arms, to name just a few.”

However, activists supporting the bill claim it’s about consistency, not about trying to hurt gun companies financially.  

“This is not a partisan issue, not an effort to put anyone out of business,” John Rosenthal, the founder of the Boston-based group, Stop Handgun Violence, told LocalNews8. “This is simply an effort to be consistent. If it’s illegal to own and sell assault weapons in Massachusetts, why is it OK for Massachusetts companies to make them, ship them elsewhere to cause mayhem across the country?”

Creating “mayhem across the country” is hyperbole.

As GunsAmerica previously reported, rifles rarely used in crimes (an inconvenient truth the founder of “Stop Handgun Violence” is probably keenly aware of). In fact, rifles of any make and model, including the subcategory of black rifles, are used in less than four percent of homicides, annually. Categorically speaking, knives, hands & feet, and blunt instruments kill more people each year.

(Graph: Fee.org)

Of course, that’s only one side of the equation. The other side is how many lives are saved by good guys with black rifles?

Unfortunately, there isn’t reliable data highlighting how frequently modern sporting rifles are used by law-abiding citizens to defend themselves, their families, and their businesses. Whether it’s thousands of times each year or tens of thousands of times each year (especially during a pandemic with widespread rioting and looting), is anyone’s guess.

But we know that it happens, and to not at least acknowledge this when discussing the impact of this bill is unacceptable. It goes to show that anti-gun politicians and activists have no interest in seeing the whole picture. For them, black guns are evil and they serve no legitimate purpose. Doesn’t matter how often they are used by patriots to protect the innocent nor does it matter that they are the best safeguard we have against the rise of tyranny, be it in the form of government jackboots or a raging mob of political radicals.

NSSF put out a more complete list of some of the recent moves made by firearms manufacturers to find friendlier business environments.

  • Alabama
    • Remington Outdoor Company moved much of its production from New York to Huntsville.
    • Kimber expanded production to Troy, over Yonkers, N.Y. It later relocated the corporate headquarters to Alabama.
  • Iowa
    • Les Baer moved from restrictive Illinois to LeClaire, Iowa, in 2007.
    • Lewis Machine & Tool Company (LMT) left Illinois after 40 years to relocate to Iowa in 2019.
  • Mississippi
    • Olin Corporation’s Winchester Ammunition moved from East Alton, Ill., to Oxford in 2011.
  • North Carolina
    • Sturm, Ruger and Co. expanded production in Mayodan in 2013.
  • South Carolina
    • American Tactical Imports relocated 100 jobs and its manufacturing from Rochester, N.Y., to Summerville, S.C., in 2013.
    • PTR Industries left Connecticut for Aynor in 2013, where it set up shop.
  • Tennessee
    • Beretta moved firearm production and engineering and design to Gallatin, Tenn., from Maryland in 2015 over concerns of increasingly strict gun control legislation.
  • Texas
    • Mossberg expanded production in Eagle Pass, Texas, in 2013, instead of growing its New Haven, Conn., plant.
    • Colt Competition moved from Canby, Ore., to Breckenridge, Texas, in 2013.
  • Wyoming
    • Magpul Industries left Boulder, Colo., after the state passed magazine restrictions and moved production to Laramie, Wyo.
    • Weatherby Inc.’s Adam Weatherby announced at SHOT Show in 2018 he was moving the company from California to Sheridan, Wyo.
    • Accessories maker HiViz announced in 2013 they were leaving Fort Collins, Colo., over restrictive gun control legislation to Laramie.
    • Stag Arms announced in 2019 they were opening their new facility in Cheyenne, Wyo., after leaving their former headquarters in New Britain, Conn.

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About the author: S.H. Blannelberry is the News Editor of GunsAmerica.

{ 11 comments… add one }
  • Mont Schroeder April 26, 2022, 1:20 am

    No wonder people from Massatwoshits are referred to as “Massholes”.

  • Alan S April 30, 2021, 9:42 pm

    Every company associated with firearms manufacturing or related products needs to leave those communist states immediately. I know history and heritage have emotional attachments but screw those commie bastards. They don’t deserve to reap any rewards from the industry.

  • JAmes Meaux April 30, 2021, 7:11 am

    The communist state of Massachusetts I left there for a good 5 years ago liberal Democrat run wackos with dinosaur age gun laws move to Florida

  • DAVID MILLER April 30, 2021, 6:39 am

    Stop production of sam adams beer

  • Jay Smith April 30, 2021, 5:23 am

    Blue Dog , you are correct . As long as they don’t trample the Constitution doing so ( and rights granted by it. But they also claim these guns create “mayhem ” in other states . 80% of “gun violence ” is with pistols , not rifles of ANY kind . These kinds of rifles , are used in less then 4% . So, this like Banning Ferraris b/c of all the mayhem they create speeding , in your state & others . When over 95% of the law violators that are speeding , don’t drive Ferraris. ( bad analogy , but , i think my point is clear ).

  • Blue Dog (he/him) April 27, 2021, 4:58 pm

    Shouldn’t a state have the ability to regulate what is produced within its own borders? I live in a state in which marijuana is prohibited. What if a state were to prohibit the distilling of liquor within its own borders? As so many are keen to point out, drunk people kill more folks every year than assault weapons; why not ban the production of alcohol? Massachusetts should have every right to regulate what kinds of things can be produced within its borders.

    • Willie-O April 30, 2021, 8:51 am

      The “simple” answer of course is yes. Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, I’ll say this: it’s not that simple when you really look at the big picture. Whether you agree with it or not, federal law trumps state law – no pun intended. If the right to own something is protected by the “original” federal law, the Constitution, then it should logically follow that the right to make that same something would and should be protected as well. In this case that “something” is the eeeville black rifle, aka assault weapon, aka msr or modern sporting rifle. For now, ALOT of this remains unsettled – it shouldn’t be and the Supreme Court needs to clear it up once and for all. I also remind you that just because you CAN do something doesn’t mean that you SHOULD. Common sense however isn’t so common and it doesn’t apply here because it involves the federal gov’t, state gov’t, how criminals access their guns vs. how law abiding citizens access theirs and a whole bunch of numbers – otherwise known as facts and statistics – so of course common sense need not apply and has no place in this conversation.

    • Robert Messmer April 30, 2021, 3:14 pm

      Congress has the authority to regulate interstate commerce not the individual states. The bill’s sponsor clearly states that the purpose of the bill is to regulate interstate commerce, not what is manufactured within the state. Quote: “This bill is an acknowledgment that some of safe protections in Massachusetts due to our own common sense gun-ownership laws, that we want to extend some of those protections to people who live in other states across the country,” she added.”

      • Big Al 45 May 9, 2021, 10:08 am

        Exactly, and that’s called Fascism.

    • Matt April 22, 2022, 9:20 am

      No the people not the leftist politicians OWN THE STATE .YOU ARE WRONG ,2A RULES .
      THATS WHY IT’S THERE To Control tyrant corrupt politicians . Not he minor leftist antigen groups . BTW when you add butto any gun law YOU BECOME PART OF THE ANTI’ GUN FUDD’S
      Stand for all guns for the free man or LEAVE OUR FREE NATION .NO NEW LAWS NEEDED .

    • John July 16, 2022, 12:19 am

      They tried to ban alcohol years ago, didn’t work.

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