March 9, 2013
Beretta to Maryland: If you pass that gun law, we just might leave.
Spurred by the Newtown massacre, Maryland is poised to pass one of the strictest gun control laws in the country.
If Maryland does pass the legislation and Democratic Gov. Martin O’Malley does sign the bill, as is expected, one of the largest gun manufacturers in the country Beretta USA is considering a move elsewhere, taking with it approximately 400 jobs. Republican Gov. Rick Perry of Texas has already put out the welcome mat for any gun manufacturers looking to move.
Virginia and West Virginia to Beretta: Yoo-hoo, look over here!
Last week West Virginia House Speaker Rick Thompson said he had written to Beretta to offer West Virginia as a suitable location because it’s “where the people understand and care about your industry.”
Thompson said his state has one of the highest gun ownership rates in the country, behind only Alaska, Montana, South Dakota and Wyoming. He also said that it would not support gun-control measures such as those being discussed in Maryland.
… Plus, he added, it was Virginian James Madison who penned the nation’s Bill of Rights, including the right to bear arms.
“In Virginia, we have a tradition of respect for the right to bear arms, and a robust culture of firearms-ownership for sport, for defending ourselves and our property, and for the best reason of all: because it is our right,” he wrote to a Beretta executive on Tuesday.
Indiana 3rd District Rep. Marlin Stutzman to Beretta: No, no, come here!
In a letter to company president Ugo Gusalli Beretta, Stutzman urged Beretta to relocate to Indiana, where he said the gun manufacturer would find a more pro-business, gun-friendly climate.
“In particular, Northeast Indiana offers a low-cost, strategic location for manufacturers like you and the Hoosier workforce is well equipped to meet your needs,” he wrote.
… You would find your commitment to local communities reciprocated in Indiana. Hoosiers would proudly welcome Beretta’s operation with a noticeably different tone and more competitive tax and regulatory structure than what you must navigate in Maryland.”
I think Indiana can make a good case if Beretta does end up deciding to move. We’ve got looser gun laws than Texas even, and the General Assembly isn’t going to tighten them up any time soon. The “gun culture” may not be talked about as much here as it is in some other states, but it is thriving. Of course, Chicago would just hate having something like Beretta so close, even if it’s in northeast Indiana instead of northwest.
Oh, wait. That’s a good thing.