Beretta has been on the hunt for a new home following the passage of stricter gun control laws in their home state of Maryland. The hunt isn’t over, but Beretta has crossed West Virginia off the list.
Jeffery Reh, the general counsel and vice-general manager of Beretta, revealed that the company turned down offers from West Virginia officials to relocate to the Mountain State. The problem, Reh explained, was with U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D, WV). Manchin has been a central figure in the gun control debate, supporting stricter regulations on high-capacity magazines and promoting universal background checks on gun sales. Also, Manchin recently received widespread attention after a video was released that showed him moved to tears by the stories of Sandy Hook parents.
All of these factors have led Beretta to question whether or not "West Virginia was a pro-gun as we thought," Reh stated. He added that Reh’s actions have "really caused us some consternation and concern."
Reh added that Beretta and Manchin "had a very friendly but clear discussion" about a bill provision that would have given gun shows priority in background check systems during the weekends. Reh and fellow Beretta officials were unimpressed with the measure because it would have "effectively prohibited checks at retail outlets.”
It isn’t surprising that Beretta has turned down West Virginia’s offers – moving into another gun control state would be like jumping out of the frying pan and into the fryer.
Beretta’s public rejection of West Virginia could deal a harsh blow to Manchin’s reputation. Beretta’s arrival in West Virginia would have provided a major boost to the economy. Losing such a high-value company may encourage West Virginia voters to replace Manchin with a senator who will do a better job of luring big businesses into the state’s borders.