Beretta Weighing Options On Move After Maryland Gun-Control Legislation

Beretta Holding issued a statement Friday about recent gun-control legislation in Maryland, where its U.S. headquarters is located:

The firearm companies owned by Beretta Holding in Maryland — Beretta U.S.A. Corp., Benelli U.S.A. Corporation and Stoeger Industries, Inc. — have been deeply concerned about Gov. Martin O’Malley’s effort this year to impose broad new restrictions on the rights of Maryland citizens to buy firearms, as well as on the types of firearms and firearm magazines they can acquire.

The companies have submitted comments before the Maryland legislature and to the press condemning these efforts and stating that the governor’s anti-gun activity is causing them to evaluate whether they want to remain in this State.

Notwithstanding some media reports to the contrary, those efforts have had some beneficial effects.

Through the companies’ legislative efforts and with assistance led by Delegate Joe Vallario and others provisions were stripped out of the final bill that would have immediately required an immediate move of certain operations out of Maryland. The parts of the legislation that remained, though — and that were not deleted notwithstanding the Beretta Holding companies efforts to do so — remain offensive not only to our companies as firearm manufacturers, importers and distributors and as investors in jobs, taxes and income within the State of Maryland, but also to those of us who, as Maryland citizens, will now be encumbered with obstacles to our exercise of our Constitutional rights — such as a requirement we now be fingerprinted like a criminal before we can buy a handgun — without providing a commensurate benefit in reducing crime.

The resulting law that passed is not acceptable, even with the improvements we were able to obtain. In short, the law that finally passed went from being atrocious to simply being bad.

The question now facing the Beretta Holding companies in Maryland is this: What effect will the passage of this law — and the efforts of Maryland government officials to support its passage — have on our willingness to remain in this State?

In that respect we are mindful of two objectives: We will not let passage of this legislation prevent us from providing on-time delivery of our products to our U.S. Armed Forces and other important customers. We also will not go forward in a way that compounds the insult made to our Maryland employees by their governor and by the legislators who supported his efforts.

Prior to introduction of this legislation the three Beretta Holding companies located in Maryland were experiencing growth in revenues and jobs and had begun expansion plans in factory and other operations. The idea now of investing additional funds in Maryland and thus rewarding a government that has insulted our customers and our products is offensive to us so we will take steps to evaluate such investments in other States. At the same time, we will continue our current necessary operations within Maryland and we are thankful for and welcome the continued support of our employees as we do so.

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