FILE - In this Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2014, file photo, trade show attendees examine handguns and rifles in the Smith & Wesson display boot at the Shooting Hunting and Outdoor Tradeshow, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson, File)

This story was updated at 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 30, 2021 with more information.

Firearms manufacturer Smith & Wesson Brands Inc. will relocate its headquarters and other major operations to Maryville, Tennessee, from Massachusetts and create 750 jobs, Gov. Bill Lee said Thursday.

Smith & Wesson will shift its distribution, assembly, and plastic injection molding operations to Tennessee and invest about $125 million in the move, Lee said in a news release.

Smith & Wesson will locate in Partnership Park North in Blount County, outside Knoxville, where the company plans to break ground before the end of the year, the release said.

Founded in 1852, Smith & Wesson manufactures a wide array of handguns and long guns including modern sporting rifles, bolt action rifles, and shotguns.

The company also makes handcuffs, suppressors, and other firearm-related products for sale to a wide variety of customers, including firearm enthusiasts, collectors, hunters, sportsmen, competitive shooters, individuals desiring home and personal protection, law enforcement and security agencies and officers, and military agencies.

Smith & Wesson joins more than 20 small arms and ammunition manufacturers located in Tennessee, officials said. Tennessee ranks No. 1 in the nation for employment in the small arms and ammunition sector, with employment increasing by 54% over the last five years, the release said.

"Our pro-business reputation, skilled workforce, and commitment to the Second Amendment make Tennessee an ideal location for firearms manufacturing," said Lee. "We welcome Smith & Wesson to The Volunteer State and are proud this U.S.-based brand has chosen to relocate from Massachusetts."

Smith & Wesson Brands President and CEO Mark Smith cited support from Blount County and the state's quality of life, outdoor lifestyle, and low cost of living in the Knoxville area.

"We would like to specifically thank Gov. Lee for his decisive contributions, and the entire state legislature for their unwavering support of the Second Amendment and for creating a welcoming, business friendly environment," he said.

Bob Rolfe, commissioner of the state Department of Economic and Community Development, said Tennessee is known by the brands that call the state home and Smith & Wesson adds "an enormous boost to our portfolio."

"The magnitude of this project will have a lasting impact on our state for years to come, and we appreciate the company for its significant investment in East Tennessee," he said.

John Bradley, TVA senior vice president of economic development, said that helping to support job creation and investment is fundamental to TVA's mission.