February 2007

Downrange 02/07

Smith & Wesson Corp. has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Thompson/Center Arms, Inc., a 40-year-old, privately held, New Hampshire-based designer, manufacturer and marketer of hunting firearms, for $102 million in cash. The transaction was expected to close in January 2007.

Todd Woodard

Todd Woodard

Thompson/Center Arms, headquartered in Rochester, New Hampshire, manufactures and distributes blackpowder firearms, blackpowder accessories, interchangeable firearm systems, single-shot centerfire handguns and rifles, and rimfire rifles.

Michael F. Golden, president and CEO of Smith & Wesson Holding Corporation, said, "The acquisition of Thompson/Center Arms is an important step in our diversification strategy."

The purchase price for Thompson/Center Arms includes the company’s Rochester, New Hampshire facility, which produces all of the company’s products and is situated geographically between Smith & Wesson’s manufacturing operations in Springfield, Massachusetts and Houlton, Maine.

In January, Smith was also expected to introduce an M&P45, the newest addition to the company’s M&P polymer pistols. The polymer-framed sidearm will be offered with a traditional black frame, or in a bi-tone, dark earth brown frame.

The bi-tone M&P45 will be manufactured with additional features such as an ambidextrous, frame-mounted thumb safety. Both M&P45 models will feature a 4.5-inch barrel with an overall length of 8.05 inches. The full-size pistols will ship with a 10+1 capacity, with an option for 14+1.

Smith also announced it would enter the shotgun market. The Smith & Wesson Elite Series will initially consist of the Elite Gold side-by-side 20-gauge shotguns, and the Elite Silver over-and-under 12-gauge shotguns.

The Smith & Wesson 1000 Series semi-automatic shotguns will be gas cylinder autoloaders in 29 separate configurations.

More Judges Packing Pistols in Courtrooms. The National Law Journal (December 7, 2006) reports that many judges are bringing their own guns into their courtrooms for protection.

In May, a judicial ethics committee of the New York State Unified Court System found that it was ethical for a judge to carry a pistol into his courtroom. In Nevada, Oklahoma and Texas, incidences of violence in the past year have prompted new laws or solidified rules allowing judges to bring guns into courtrooms.

"Judges in our courthouse have been carrying guns almost all the time," said Cynthia Stevens Kent, a Texas judge in the 114th District Court, where a man in a family law case killed his ex-wife and son last year on the steps of a Tyler courthouse.

"We feel strongly about providing adequate security, but it comes down to personal responsibility. And you’ve got to take responsibility for your own safety," Kent said.

Presumably, judges who carry guns for self-defense will agree that the rest of us should have the same right. GT