ACCOKEEK, Md. (AP) - Beretta U.S.A. Corp. says concerns about a gun-control bill that passed in Maryland last year have made it necessary to move its weapons making out of the state to Tennessee.
The well-known gun maker announced Tuesday it will move to a new production facility it is building in Gallatin that is set to open in mid-2015.
Beretta general manager Jeff Cooper says an initial version of the gun-control bill passed by the Senate would have prohibited the company from being able to make, store or even import into Maryland the products it sells. He says while lawmakers reversed some of those provisions, the company is concerned restrictions could be reinstated in the future.
Beretta says it has no plans to relocate its office, administrative and executive support functions from Accokeek, Maryland.
Beretta's general manager Jeff Cooper made the following statements in a press release:
"During the legislative session in Maryland that resulted in passage of the Firearm Safety Act of 2013, the version of the statute that passed the Maryland Senate would have prohibited Beretta U.S.A. from being able to manufacture, store or even import into the State products that we sell to customers throughout the United States and around the world. While we were able in the Maryland House of Delegates to reverse some of those obstructive provisions, the possibility that such restrictions might be reinstated in the future leaves us very worried about the wisdom of maintaining a firearm manufacturing factory in the State."
"While we had originally planned to use the Tennessee facility for new equipment and for production of new product lines only, we have decided that it is more prudent from the point of view of our future welfare to move the Maryland production lines in their entirety to the new Tennessee facility."
"We have not yet begun groundbreaking on the Tennessee facility and we do not anticipate that that building will be completed until the middle part of 2015."
"That timing, combined with our need to plan an orderly transition of production from one facility to the other so that our delivery obligations to customers are not disrupted, means that no Beretta U.S.A. Maryland employee will be impacted by this news for many months. More importantly, we will use this time to meet with every Beretta U.S.A. employee whose Maryland job might be affected by the move to discuss with them their interest in taking a position at our new facility in Tennessee or, if they are not willing to do so, to lay out a long-term strategy for remaining with the Company while our production in Maryland continues."