Civil Liberties

Beretta Ditches Maryland Over Restrictive Gun Laws



Beretta, the famous gun maker, is moving its entire manufacturing capacity from Maryland to a new facility in Tennessee. There's no secret as to the reason for the move either—the company cites the state's ever-more restrictive gun laws as the reason to move its production lines and related investments and employment.

"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 U.S.A. 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.  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," stated Jeff Cooper, General Manager for Beretta U.S.A. Corp.

"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 added.

The Gallatin, Tennessee, facility, to which Beretta is moving all manufacturing, was announced only in January of this year. Ground has yet to be broken there and it's not expected to be completed until mid-2015. Yet the company is obviously eager to get out of its Maryland digs.

Employees in Maryland affected by the move will be offered a chance to move to Tennessee, or can remain with the company until it winds down its current contracts. In particular, Beretta produces the M9 9mm pistol for the U.S. military, though the Army announced plans for a new, harder-hitting pistol that would seem to spell changes for that production line—and a good opportunity for a shift in location.

Once completed, the Gallatin facility is projected to employ 300 people. Maryland, on the other hand, will be losing jobs.

When he signed the Firearm Safety Act last year, Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley boasted that it includes "common sense reforms" in the "strongest gun safety laws in the nation." Common sense considerations of economic consequences from those affected by and offended by the laws apparently didn't make the cut.

Now, if only Beretta would stop selling its products to Maryland government agencies…