A few weeks ago, famous gun maker Beretta announced it was moving all of its manufacturing capacity to Tennessee in the wake of the passage of new gun restrictions by state officials in its old American base of Maryland.
"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," said Jeff Cooper, the company's general manager.
I missed it at the time, but shotgun-maker Mossberg had already said it would be expanding capacity thousands of miles from its headquarters in gun-banning Connecticut. That company also cited the political climate as a reason for the shift.
"Investing in Texas was an easy decision," said CEO Iver Mossberg. "It's a state that is not only committed to economic growth but also honors and respects the Second Amendment and the firearm freedoms it guarantees for our customers."
Connecticut has not only suffered the passage of onerous gun restrictions in the wake of the Sandy Hook shooting, but also massive defiance of the same, creating tens of thousands of instant felons. That has officials and their supporters among the pundit class very upset, with the editorial board of the Hartford Courant demanding mass arrests. That's not realistic—it's utterly insane—but there's no doubt the state is no longer the firearms-friendly place it was when the likes of Colt and Winchester chose it as home.
Mossberg also cited Texas' "low taxes" and "smart regulations," but that just added a little more sting to the company's slap at Connecticut. Chief Executive magazine ranks Texas as the best state in the country for business, with Tennessee, selected by Beretta, in third place. Connecticut comes in at 44 and Maryland at 41.
Adding a poor tax and regulatory environment to hostility to a specific industry is pretty damned near a guaranteed recipe for driving that industry elsewhere—and making it unlikely to return. While Mossberg will keep its headquarters in North Haven, Connecticut, for now, over 90 percent of its manufacturing capacity is in the Lone Star state.