Beretta ditches Maryland for Tennessee over tough gun control laws

Although the Beretta lobbied local politicians to soften gun control laws, the Italian gun manufacturer fears those efforts may soon be reversed.

Matt Bradwell

ACCOKEEK, Md., July 23 (UPI) -- Italian gun manufacturer Beretta announced Tuesday that it will move its U.S. factory from Maryland to Tennessee, citing increasingly restrictive gun control laws in the Mid-Atlantic state.

Beretta had already planed to invest $45 million in a new production facility outside of Nashville, but will now move all manufacturing from its Accokeek, Md. plant to Gallatin, Tenn.


Although Beretta successfully lobbied lawmakers into reversing key provisions from the state's new gun control laws that would have prevented Beretta from manufacturing much of its inventory in the state, the gun maker fears those laws could be reintroduced in the future.

"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," Beretta General Manager Jeff Cooper said in a statement.

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"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."

The move will not occur until 2015, and all current Beretta employees will be given the option of retaining their current job if they are willing to relocate. Only Beretta's manufacturing plant is moving, the U.S. branch of their corporate offices will remain in Maryland.

"We're disappointed with this decision," a spokeswoman Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley said in a statement.

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"But the common-sense gun safety law we passed, which includes licenses for handgun purchases, is keeping schools, communities and law enforcement personnel safe."

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