West Virginia and Virginia are among the states that have offered to take in Beretta, a gun manufacturer and one of the largest employers in the Maryland, with open arms should the company decide to leave due to Maryland’s strict gun laws.
Beretta is considering a move out of the Old Line State because of the state’s new ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines. The state legislature passed the bill on Thursday, and Gov. Martin O’Malley plans on signing it after the General Assembly adjourns on Monday.
Should Beretta decide to leave Maryland, the state will lose 400 jobs and millions of dollars in revenue. The company, which has been based in Maryland since 1997, has paid or is projected to pay $31 million in state taxes already, and has invested or planned to invest as much as $73 million as well.
@hilhouse we are waiting to see what the signed bill looks like, before we comment.— Beretta (@Beretta_USA) April 4, 2013
“We don’t want to do this, we’re not willing to do this, but obviously this legislation has caused us a serious level of concern within our company,” Jeffrey Reh, Beretta USA’s vice general manager announced on Thursday.
The problem is that the assault weapons ban outlaws Beretta’s newest gun on the market:the ARX-100, a machine gun equipped with its own grenade launcher.
“Why expand in a place where the people who built the gun couldn’t buy it?,” Reh told the Washington Post in February when the gun bill was still working its way through the state legislature.
O’Malleys office originally said they were willing to work with Beretta, but this does not seem to be the case.
Our bill bans the sale of assault weapons & high capacity magazines & makes meaningful improvements to mental health treatment.— Martin O'Malley (@GovernorOMalley) April 4, 2013
“Losing [Beretta] would be a big disappointment. Maryland has a reputation for having a horrible business climate, and this would be one more nail in the coffin,” Republican state Delegate Anthony J. O’Donnell told Fox News.
Maryland gun control advocates might want to take a huge step back, if one of the largest employers in the state takes its business elsewhere.