The laughably nicknamed “Free State” may chase more business away with its hard left politics, according to the Washington Post.
Beretta, the nearly 500-year-old family-owned company that made one of James Bond’s firearms, has already invested more than $1 million in the machine and has planned to expand its plant further in Prince George’s County to ramp up production.
But under an assault-weapons ban that advanced late last week in the Maryland General Assembly, experts say the gun would be illegal in the state where it is produced.
Now Beretta is weighing whether the rifle line, and perhaps the company itself, should stay in a place increasingly hostile toward its products. Its iconic 9mm pistol — carried by every U.S. soldier and scores of police departments — would also be banned with its high capacity, 13-bullet magazine.
“Why expand in a place where the people who built the gun couldn’t buy it?” said Jeffrey Reh, general counsel for Beretta.
The impetus for the move is Gov. Martin O’Malley’s “assault” weapons bill, which just passed through the state’s Senate Judiciary Committee. It bans the 13-round magazine, which clearly isn’t an assault weapon, and would ban the civilian version of a rifle that Beretta intends to make in its Maryland plant, the ARX-100. If O’Malley’s bill becomes law, the firearm would be illegal to own, in the state in which it is made. A company move would take 300 well-paying jobs out of Maryland, most likely to Virginia to remain close to Washington. Beretta is among the US military’s firearm suppliers.
“We literally are part of the arsenal of democracy,” said Reh, sweeping his hand toward the production floor, where on a recent afternoon more than 1,000 of the military version of the pistol sat in various stages of assembly. “That’s why we consider this so insulting.”
One problem is, there’s nowhere that is truly save from “progressives” now. Beretta moved a warehouse operation to Virginia in the 1990s in response to the last major gun grab. The Beltway bandits and big government are turning Virginia purple, and demographics are pushing Florida and (hopefully not, but possibly) Texas in the same direction. If they get total control, “progressives” will just finish the work they’re currently doing — destroying what’s left of the private sector. Gun makers will be among the first to be sued or legislated out of existence. Just look at how Maryland is behaving. Mr. Beretta certainly is.
The company’s Italian patriarch, Ugo Gussalli Beretta, visited the plant shortly after O’Malley introduced his gun-control bill, and the two discussed the issue. But Reh declined to say if the two reached any decisions about what would happen if the governor’s bill passes.
“All I can tell you is, Mr. Beretta said, ‘There always seems to be a problem with Maryland.’ ”