In 1977-78, Beretta expanded to the US. Today, Beretta USA is headquartered in Accokeek, Maryland where it employs around 300 people. The company has recently spent over $1 million in its plant in Maryland and had plans for further expansion. But those plans were put on hold last year when Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley (D) signed strict anti-gun bills into law.
Maryland’s new laws bans all assault and assault-style weapons and magazines that contain more than 10 rounds and any new gun that has two or more military-like features such as pistol grips, bayonet mounts, etc.
Currently, Beretta manufactures a 9mm pistol used by thousands of US military personnel and law enforcement officers. The pistol also has a 13 round magazine. If O’Malley’s bill becomes law, this pistol will be banned from the state of Maryland. Beretta also has a prototype weapon they are about to produce that is a semi-automatic version of the ARX-160, but this gun would also be banned under the proposed law.
Prior to Maryland passing the anti-gun laws, Beretta USA told the state legislature and Gov. O’Malley that they will leave Maryland and take their 300 jobs to another state if O’Malley’s bill becomes law. In a statement released by Beretta’s General Counsel and Board member, Jeffrey Reh:
“Why expand in a place where the people who built the gun couldn’t buy it?”
Today, Beretta is preparing to spend $45 million to expand to Tennessee where they have been welcomed with open arms by Gov. Bill Haslam (R) who announced:
“Beretta is one of the world’s greatest companies, and their decision to expand into Tennessee speaks to the standards of craftsmanship and quality our state’s workforce embraces every day. Attracting a legendary company like Beretta reinforces our goal of becoming the No. 1 location in the Southeast for high-quality jobs. I want to thank the Beretta family for their substantial investment in Tennessee and the 300 jobs they’ll create in Sumner County.”
Maryland House Minority Leader Nicholaus R. Kipke (R) told the Washington Times:
“I fear this is a part of Beretta’s long-term strategy to move their business and move to a state that has a fairer tax climate and fairer laws when it comes to firearms.”
Reh, issued the following statement:
“Around March 2013 the Beretta family decided to expand its manufacturing and business operations outside Maryland, where Beretta U.S.A. is located. We started our search by looking only at States that have a consistent history of support for and likelihood of future support for Second Amendment rights. The Beretta family has manufactured products and done business from the same town in northern Italy for almost 500 years. This means that when Beretta chooses a location for its business, we plan not just in terms of a return on investment within the next few years. We also start with the possibility that we will be in that location for decades, if not hundreds of years, to come.”
I hope that Beretta eventually moves all of its facilities to Tennessee, leaving Maryland without the jobs and revenue that the company currently generates. Hopefully other firearms companies will leave their states that have also passed strict anti-gun legislation such as Colorado and Connecticut. States like Tennessee, Texas and Arizona are all more than willing to welcome every firearms and ammunition company in the country to their states.