Maryland’s gun control legislation may push a well-established gun manufacturer out of the state, The Washington Post reports.
Beretta USA, the U.S. branch of the oldest firearms manufacturer in the world, based in Accokeek, Maryland, might be taking its business elsewhere depending on the outcome of Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley’s proposed gun control bill.
And if Beretta goes, it’s taking its 300 jobs with it. In the early 1990s at the height of the Gulf War, Beretta was the second largest employer in southern Maryland.
“We literally are part of the arsenal of democracy,” Jeffrey Reh, Beretta USA’s vice general manager, told The Post. “That’s why we consider this so insulting.”
One of the provisions of O’Malley’s bill is an assault weapons ban that would effectively outlaw Beretta’s newest gun on the line. The company is on the verge of unveiling a machine gun, currently for military use only, to private citizens. The first of it’s kind, the ARX-100 equipped with its own grenade launcher, is priced around $2,000.
“Why expand in a place where the people who built the gun couldn’t buy it?,” Reh said to the The Post.
In addition to the 1 million guns Beretta provides to civilians, it also makes 100,000 guns every year for the United States military and its allies.
The state’s Senate Judiciary Committee passed the bill on Thursday and the bill will now move to the Senate for a vote.
Beretta’s other issue with the bill is whether or not the company can still ship out the newly outlawed guns or if they can bill customers for alterations to guns so they meet the new standards.
Defenders of the bill argue it could have banned manufacturing of assault weapons altogether, but didn’t for Beretta’s sake.
“We think getting assault weapons off the streets and keeping this company can both be accomplished,” Raquel Guillory, O’Malley’s spokeswoman, told The Post.
But this promise may not be met.
According to Reh, Beretta’s Italian head honcho Ugo Gussalli Beretta says, “There always seems to be a problem with Maryland.”