In mid-May 2013, Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley followed in the footsteps of New York, Colorado and Connecticut when he signed a new restrictive new gun bill that accomplished little more than suppressing the freedoms of law-abiding gun owners—and all but ensuring the loss of manufacturing jobs. Included in the legislation was an outright ban of over 40 “assault weapons” including the AR-15. It was not much of a surprise that the state’s gun makers went into crisis mode.
Common to so many hurriedly written and poorly researched gun control laws, the new law made it impossible for manufacturers such as Beretta to manufacture or service certain firearms. At the time, Beretta issued a statement regarding the new law and called it an insult. Pro Second Amendment groups threatened to challenge the new law in court, which includes limits on magazines with capacities over 10 rounds and required handgun buyers to submit to fingerprinting.
Beretta was planning a new expansion and with its headquarters in Accokeek, Maryland was the logical choice. However, the new laws caused Beretta to rethink its plans. Beretta and others were able to work with lawmakers and gain some concessions, but the writing was on the wall. Beretta quickly announced it would hedge its bet and expand into gun-friendly Tennessee.
A few weeks ago, Cheaper Than Dirt! interviewed officials at Beretta about the status of the move and reported the best information available at the time. During the interview, Beretta admitted that some details were still in discussion, but the plan was to move manufacturing of new products to Tennessee and leave the others in Maryland. That was a few weeks ago… This week, Beretta issued the following press release announcing it would move ALL Maryland manufacturing to Tennessee and the reason should be no surprise to gun owners.
Beretta U.S.A. Corp., located in Accokeek, Maryland, announced today that it has decided to move its manufacturing capabilities from its existing location to a new production facility that it is building in Gallatin, Tennessee. The Gallatin facility is scheduled to be opened in mid-2015. Beretta U.S.A. had previously planned to use the new Gallatin, Tennessee facility for new machinery and production of new products only.
“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 transition of production from Beretta U.S.A.’s Maryland facility to the Tennessee facility will not occur until 2015 and will be managed so as not to disrupt deliveries to Beretta customers. Beretta U.S.A.’s production of the U.S. Armed Forces M9 9mm pistol will continue at the Accokeek, Maryland facility until all current orders from the U.S. Armed Forces have been filled.
“We have not yet begun groundbreaking on the Tennessee facility and we do not anticipate that that building will be completed until the middle part of 2015,” continued Cooper. “That timing, combined with our need to plan an orderly transition of production from one facility to the other so that our delivery obligations to customers are not disrupted, means that no Beretta U.S.A. Maryland employee will be impacted by this news for many months. More importantly, we will use this time to meet with every Beretta U.S.A. employee whose Maryland job might be affected by the move to discuss with them their interest in taking a position at our new facility in Tennessee or, if they are not willing to do so, to lay out a long-term strategy for remaining with the Company while our production in Maryland continues.” Beretta U.S.A. anticipates that the Gallatin, Tennessee facility will involve $45 million of investment in building and equipment and the employment of around 300 personnel during the next five years.
Beretta U.S.A. has no plans to relocate its office, administrative and executive support functions from its Accokeek, Maryland facility.
Will lawmakers in Maryland or other states realize the financial cost to their actions? Do you think this will influence gun control legislation in the future? Share your thoughts in comment section.