Beretta to Maryland: Enact gun laws and we may be outta here

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The domestic arm of Beretta, Italy’s respected gunmaker, is considering pulling up stakes from its 35-year home in Maryland and moving on to greener pastures.

The Aurora Theater shooting and the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre have started a war with clearly-defined battle lines. On one side, lawmakers are furiously drafting gun control bills to prove to their constituents they’re actually doing more than attending cocktail parties.

On the other side are arms manufacturers and gun enthusiasts who foresee the very real possibility of their livelihood being stripped away and their Second Amendment rights denied in the heat of passion.

Some armorers have banded together and vowed to refuse to do business with any state enacting strict gun control measures.

Beretta is taking an even more direct approach, telling Maryland: “Enact such measures at your own risk,” according to The Washington Post. Beretta is considering moving its operations to another state if Maryland infringes on the Second Amendment rights of Beretta’s clientele.

In the Obama age of high unemployment, this is no empty threat.

Firearms today are a growth industry building for expansion, but firms like Beretta face a dilemma.

“Why expand in a place where the people who built the gun couldn’t buy it?” Jeffrey Reh, general counsel for Beretta, told The Washington Post.

The Post’s Aaron Davis wrote:

Concern that the company will leave, and take its 300 jobs with it, is palpable among state lawmakers who worry it could be collateral damage from Gov. Martin O’Malley’s proposed gun-control bill.

Among other restrictions, O’Malley’s bill would ban assault rifles, magazines with more than 10 bullets and any new guns with two or more “military-like” features. Gun experts said it’s a near-certainty that Beretta’s semiautomatic version of the ARX-160, now only a prototype, would be banned under O’Malley’s bill.

“I’m concerned. I think they’re going to move,” Maryland Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr., told the Post. “They sell guns across the world and in every state in the union — to places a lot more friendly to the company than this state.”

Whether the company moves or stays is, I suppose, at least in part up to Miller’s Senate. For now, each firearm leaving Beretta’s Maryland facility is stamped, “Made in Accokeek.” Maybe next year they’ll be stamped, “Made in Laredo.”

Read more at The Washington Post.

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