Citing anti-gun laws, Beretta to move operations from Maryland to Tennessee

Legendary Italian gunmaker Beretta announced on Tuesday that because of changes in the law passed by the Maryland legislature, the company would be moving its manufacturing operations to Tennessee next year.

Beretta is the latest gun manufacturer to leave a state for friendlier territory following changes in gun laws.

Washington Times:

General Manager Jeff Cooper said an early version of a statute passed last year by the Maryland state Senate would have prohibited the company from manufacturing or storing products in the state.

“While we were able in the Maryland House of Delegates to reverse some of those obstructive provisions, the possibility that such restrictions might be reinstated in the future leaves us very worried about the wisdom of maintaining a firearm manufacturing factory in the state,” Mr. Cooper said.

A number of states, especially those that are conservative and gun-friendly, approached the Italian company last year after officials expressed concern about strict gun laws in liberal-leaning Maryland.

Maryland and a number of other states enacted restrictions on certain models of military-style, semi-automatic weapons and ammunition magazine sizes in response to the Connecticut school shootings in December 2012 that killed 20 children and six educators.

Beretta isn’t the first firearms manufacturer to seek a friendlier political climate. Magpul Industries Corp., which makes firearms accessories, announced in January that it would relocate from Erie, Colorado, to Texas and Wyoming. It’s move was a response to sweeping gun control bills signed by Gov. John Hickenlooper, a Democrat.

Another Colorado company, HiViz Shooting Systems, revealed in May 2013 that it would move its operations from Fort Collins to Laramie, Wyoming.

Connecticut Gov. Dan Malloy, a Democrat, signed tougher gun control legislation in April 2013, prompted firearms manufacturer PTR Industries Inc. of Bristol to announce a relocation.

Colt Competition, which manufactures high-end AR-15 rifles, announced in April 2013 that it would move from Oregon to North Texas.

In Beretta’s case, the company said it had no plans to relocate its office, administrative and executive support functions from its facility in the Prince George’s County community of Accokeek.

Beretta originally planned to use the Gallatin, Tennessee, facility only for new equipment and production of new product lines.

Beretta employs some 400 people and expects to create another 300 jobs at the Tennessee plant, slated for completion in the middle of next year. Investment in construction and equipment is expected to be $45 million.

That's a serious blow when a company takes 700 jobs elsewhere - the 400 moving to Tennessee plus the 300 that are being created. The local impact will certainly be felt by businesses and government, who will lose a sizable chunk of taxes as a result of the move.

But really, what do these lawmakers expect? By rolling up the welcome mat for gun manufacturers, Oregon, Colorado, and Maryland are all losing jobs as a result of their shortsightedness. And in this economy, those jobs will not be easy to replace.

Baretta felt it had little choice due to the anti-gun hysteria in blue states. And you can bet that other gun related industries will be joining them.

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