New legislation is forcing gun manufacturing company Beretta to uproot and take their business elsewhere.
Established in 1526, Beretta holds the distinction of being the oldest active firearms manufacturer in the world. The U.S. factory is located in Accokeek, Maryland, and has been a staple of the local economy for years.
Beretta warned that stricter gun control laws would push the company outside of state lines, but that didn’t stop Maryland legislators. Jeffrey Reh, a spokesman for Beretta who also serves as the President of Stoeger Industries under Beretta, announced that the company would begrudgingly uproot and take its business elsewhere. He said, “We don’t want to do this, we’re not willing to do this, but obviously this legislation has caused us a serious level of concern within our company.”
He added that Beretta paid approximately $31 million in taxes, employs 400 people, and had invested $73 million in the business over the past several decades. Despite being such a prominent player in the local economy, Beretta was unable to prevent legislators from passing tighter gun control laws. Ironically, Beretta manufactures some firearms that are now banned in Maryland.
Republican state Delegate Anthony J. O’Donnell lamented: “Losing [Beretta] would be a big disappointment. Maryland has a reputation for having a horrible business climate, and this would be one more nail in the coffin.”
Legislators had ample warning. Back in the ‘90s, when Maryland beefed up gun control laws, Beretta moved one of its warehouses a short drive away to Virginia.
Beretta’s bold move is regrettable but understandable. Reh told reporters, “Why expand in a place where the people who built the gun couldn’t buy it?”
All of Beretta’s pleas fell on deaf ears. Even as Reh lamented Beretta’s looming departure and emphasized the company’s centrality in the local economy during the hearing, Maryland legislators grilled Reh on self-defense.
One legislator stated: “Other than target shooting, the only other reason [for a semi-automic firearm] would be for self-defense… [Why would you need a] rifle that accommodates 20 rounds semi-automatic for deer hunting? … It’s only very infrequently that someone commits a crime with an assault weapon – why do you need one for self-defense?”