Citing recent gun-control legislation efforts, firearms giant Beretta announced Tuesday that it will be moving its U.S. manufacturing facilities from Accokeek, Maryland, to Gallatin, Tennessee, next year.
“During the legislative session in Maryland that resulted in passage of the Firearm Safety Act of 2013, the version of the statute that passed the Maryland Senate would have prohibited Beretta USA from being able to manufacture, store or even import into the state products that we sell to customers throughout the United States and around the world,” Jeff Cooper, general manager for U.S. operations of the legendary Italian gunmaker, said in a statement.
“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,” Cooper added, according to The Washington Times.
The Baltimore Business Journal reports the loss of the manufacturing facility represents the loss of about 160 manufacturing jobs for the state. But Beretta plans to add more jobs than that when it relocates to Tennessee. Cooper indicates the $45 million facility in Gallatin will employee about 300 people. The company plans to leave its administrative offices in Maryland.
“While we had originally planned to use the Tennessee facility for new equipment and for production of new product lines only, we have decided that it is more prudent from the point of view of our future welfare to move the Maryland production lines in their entirety to the new Tennessee facility,” Cooper said.
Company officials warned lawmakers and Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley that stricter firearm legislation might cause them to seek a new home.
Forbes reports O’Malley pushed for the 2013 legislation anyway, saying that the bill struck “a balance between protecting the safety of law enforcement and our children, and respecting the traditions of hunters and law-abiding citizens to purchase handguns for self-protection.”
Jeff Reh, Beretta’s vice-general manager in the U.S., disagreed, saying that the law would prevent some of the company’s products from even being sold in the state. He said the company was looking forward to operating in Tennessee, where it could potentially do business “for decades, if not hundreds of years, to come.”
“Why expand in a place where the people who built the gun couldn’t buy it?” Reh said.
Photo Source: Facebook: Beretta USA