Citing Maryland’s recently enacted firearm laws and the prospect of more restrictions, the U.S. arm of legendary Italian gunmaker Beretta announced Tuesday that it would move its manufacturing operations to Tennessee next year.
The move makes Beretta the latest maker of guns or ammunition to move all or part of its operations to another state because of tightened gun control laws.
General Manager Jeff Cooper said an early version of a statute passed last year by the Maryland state Senate would have prohibited the company from manufacturing or storing products in the state.
“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,” Mr. Cooper said.
A number of states, especially those that are conservative and gun-friendly, approached the Italian company last year after officials expressed concern about strict gun laws in liberal-leaning Maryland.
Maryland and a number of other states enacted restrictions on certain models of military-style, semi-automatic weapons and ammunition magazine sizes in response to the Connecticut school shootings in December 2012 that killed 20 children and six educators.
Beretta isn’t the first firearms manufacturer to seek a friendlier political climate. Magpul Industries Corp., which makes firearms accessories, announced in January that it would relocate from Erie, Colorado, to Texas and Wyoming. It’s move was a response to sweeping gun control bills signed by Gov. John Hickenlooper, a Democrat.