Gun manufacturer Beretta is considering relocating from Maryland if the state approves an assault weapons ban similar to one New York recently passed.
Jeffrey Reh, general counsel at Beretta, said the company may not move forward with a planned expansion in Maryland and instead might relocate entirely to a state that is more gun-friendly, the Washington Post
The company, which employs 400 people in Maryland, recently invested more than $1 million to ramp up production and expand its plant in Prince George County.
Reh's warning stems from a new gun-control proposal, State Senate Bill 281, that would ban assault-weapons and magazines that hold more than 10 rounds, both of which are produced by Beretta.
The measure advanced late last week in the Maryland General Assembly, and Democratic Gov. Martin O'Malley supports it.
Local politicians fear what the Beretta facility's closure would mean for the hundreds of Maryland residents the company employs.
"I’m concerned. I think they’re going to move," said State Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. , D-Calvert. "They sell guns across the world and in every state in the union — to places a lot more friendly to the company than this state."
Reh argued against the bill before Senate last week.
"We are confronted with a state government that wants to ban our products at a time, by the way, when numerous other state governments are courting our investment. It is worth noting that these other states also do not try to blame a product for human misconduct," Reh said.
Reh asserted that banning guns isn't the be-all end-all answer.
"A person bent on destruction will find a way to do so and the absence of a folding stock on a rifle or the need to carry an additional magazine will not stop such a person. If the person does not use a semi-automatic rifle they will use something else, another firearm, perhaps, or a car, or a bomb. History proves this through examples too numerous to list," said Reh.
In addition to employing 400 Maryland residents, Reh added, from 1997 to 2014 Beretta would contribute an estimated $31 million in state taxes and invest $73 million in the company's infrastructure.
The family-owned firearms manufacturer was established in 1526 by Italian gunsmith Maestro Bartolomeo Beretta.
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