In 1526, Mastro Bartolomeo Beretta was paid to deliver 185 arquebus rifle barrels to the Arsenal of Venice. An arquebus rifle was a long-barreled smooth-bore gun that was the precursor to modern rifles. The Beretta products made at the time were extremely high quality precision arms for the day and the fledgling company quickly earned a reputation among the Republic of Venice.
Not long after, word spread of their craftsmanship through Italy and company grew. Bartolomeo passed his craft on to his son Giovannino who passed it to his grandson Giovan Antonio. Today, fifteen generations and nearly 500 years later, the Beretta family still owns and operates one of the most prestigious firearms company in the world.
In the later part of the 1800s, Beretta began to distribute their products internationally. In the early 1900s, the company began to expand and opened up manufacturing facilities in a number of European countries. In 1977-78, they expanded to the US. Today, Beretta USA is headquartered in Accokeek, Maryland where it employs around 300 people.
The company has recently spent over $1 million in its plant in Maryland and has plans for further expansion. But those plans are being put on hold.
Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) has proposed a bill that contains some strict gun control measures. His bill would ban all assault and assault-style weapons, magazines that contain more than 10 rounds and any new gun that has two or more military-like features such as pistol grips, bayonet mounts, etc.
Currently, Beretta manufactures a 9mm pistol used by thousands of US military personnel and law enforcement officers. The pistol also has a 13 round magazine. If O’Malley’s bill becomes law, this pistol will be banned from the state of Maryland. Beretta also has a prototype weapon they are about to produce that is a semi-automatic version of the ARX-160, but this gun would also be banned under the proposed law.
Consequently, Beretta USA has told the state legislature and Gov. O’Malley that they will leave Maryland and take their 300 jobs to another state if O’Malley’s bill becomes law. In a statement released by Beretta’s general counsel, Jeffrey Reh:
“Why expand in a place where the people who built the gun couldn’t buy it?”
Earlier this month, Reh testified before the Maryland legislature and reminded them that when Maryland began increasing gun restrictions, Beretta responded by moving its warehouse to Virginia. Reh stated:
“I think they thought we were bluffing, but Berettas don’t bluff.”
Beretta is not the only firearms company that has threatened to leave a state if they passed strict gun control laws. In Colorado, Magpul and Alfred Manufacturing told the state legislature that they would leave if the gun control laws passed. The Colorado laws were passed and now both companies are exploring possible new location sites for their facilities.
Democrats are so fired up over their disarm America agenda that they are willing to sacrifice jobs and revenue to accomplish their goals. The saddest part is that the only real impact their laws will have is to make it easier and safer for criminals to commit violent crimes against unarmed citizens.