Beretta leaves Maryland, heads to Tennessee

On Tuesday, Beretta U.S.A. Corp announced that it would be uprooting its manufacturing capabilities in Accokeek, Maryland, and moving them to a new facility in Gallatin, Tennessee, by mid-2015.

The decision to move the facility which employs upwards of 160 people came down to one thing and one thing only: the state’s new gun-control law passed in the wake of the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.

“Politics was the only factor. We have been in Accokeek, Maryland, since 1977,” Beretta board of directors member Jeff Reh, told WTOP.

“We would have been thrilled to stay in Maryland … but the the anti-gun political climate just got to the point where we didn’t think it was prudent from a business point of view to stay here,” he continued.

Beretta feared that The Firearms Safety Act of 2013, signed into law by Gov. Martin O’Malley in May of that year would prohibit them from being able to manufacture, store or import into the state firearms and accessories that Beretta sells across the U.S. and around the world.

One could certainly argue that their concerns weren’t overblown, as the Firearms Safety Act of 2013 bans so-called ‘assault’ weapons (including the AR-15), further limits magazine capacity to 10 rounds (down from 20), and requires licensing, fingerprinting, and safety training for handgun purchases, among other stringent provisions.

Executives at Beretta tried to convince state lawmakers to ease restrictions, and while they made a little headway, the fear that harsher laws would one day be enacted was too much of a risk to take, explained Jeff Cooper, general manager for Beretta, in a press release.

“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,” Cooper added.

As far as it relates to Beretta’s military contracts, the company stated that the M9 pistols will continued to be manufactured at the Maryland facility until all of the orders from the U.S. Armed forces have been completed.

“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,” said Cooper. “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.”

With the 2015 timetable, Beretta wanted to make sure that its current employees had a chance to plan their future and decide whether they would like to make the transition to Tennessee.

The Tennessee enterprise will include a $45 million investment and around 300 jobs over the next five years, an economic boost that Maryland will lose out on.

“We are disappointed to learn that Beretta will be moving their manufacturing out of Prince George’s County,” Scott Peterson, spokesperson for Prince George’s County, the current home of Beretta’s manufacturing.

“They have been a County business and employer for almost 40 years. If there were any issues that the County could have addressed to keep Beretta here, you can be sure that we would have addressed them immediately,” he added, noting that the county worked hard to keep Beretta in the Free State.

Meanwhile, the National Shooting Sports Foundation, the firearms industry trade association, was quick to point out the economic costs associated with taking an anti-gun position.

“Trampling on the Second Amendment by banning the most popular rifle and ordinary sized magazines knowing full well that it will not make Maryland communities safer is not without economic consequences,” said Lawrence Keane, the NSSF’s Senior Vice President, Assistant Secretary & General Counsel.

However, Ladd Everitt from the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence applauded Maryland for not fully capitulating to Beretta’s demands to rewrite the law.

“Kudos to Maryland for standing up to Beretta’s ridiculous intimidation campaign,” Everitt said in an email to GunsAmerica.  ” The laws enacted in Maryland will save many lives and make neighborhood across that state safer. If Beretta is committed to selling military-style firearms to anyone—no matter their criminal or mental health history—then they can take their business elsewhere.”

Yet, perhaps there is a chance that Beretta’s manufacturing might one day return to Maryland. That is because the company has no plans to relocate its office, administrative and executive support functions from Maryland.

As one can see by the July 7, 2013,  video below, transitioning out of Maryland was something that was in the works for some time:

About the author: S.H. Blannelberry is the News Editor of GunsAmerica.

{ 16 comments… add one }
  • artis miles September 16, 2017, 4:00 pm

    why not Detroit or Chicago? Because corporations won’t admit it but its all demographics.
    A sociologist

  • BigR July 29, 2014, 7:45 pm

    They need to move the administrative jobs also.

  • Larry Jones July 29, 2014, 2:48 am

    “When guns are outlawed, Only outlaws will have guns”.

  • Russ July 28, 2014, 9:48 pm

    I’m so sick of the misinformed opening their pie holes and spewing ignorance.
    Buddying up with socialist/communist to wreck our states one by one.
    It’s the reason I may leave the state I was born and bred in since 1959.
    I used to love California until they took it over.
    1-20-17 the last day our domestic terrorist is in charge.
    Can’t wait for that day.
    Hopefully we will still have an America to rebuild.

  • Robert July 28, 2014, 1:54 pm

    Ladd Everitt is a mouthpiece for the movement in the country to turn us into a NAZI Germany. I saw that as a youth and anyone who believes that the promoters of these oppressive laws are not heading the same way are just not awake. If I own one or a hundred guns a various types it is no one’s business as long as I am not using them unlawfully ie: robbing, killing, etc. Weapons in the hands of a lawful citizen have stopped many a crime in process. They are used for home defense all the time. Keep your weapons clean and oiled and plenty of ammo in stock. Apparently we are heading toward another Revolutionary War. Many, many people agree with me and no, we are not nutcases. Just observant and wise like the patriots in 1774.

  • JD July 28, 2014, 1:52 pm

    Beretta should also announce that it will not support any MD state agency with their products, or any MD state or local employee that may currently own a Beretta product.
    Thats how you hurt the lib states. You ban the police from your products. Let the MD police go get a contract with Tokerev or something, it would fit their mentality better anyway.

  • JMeyer July 28, 2014, 10:58 am

    WhY does Beretta continue to reward Maryland with keeping their haighest paying jobs in the state? It is easy to send your employees job somewhere else while executives keep their own job, home and life where it has always been. If you want to make a statement, be a real man and move every employee including yourself out of the state. I aplaud the manufacturing move but keeping administrative and executive jobs in Maryland is a half-hearted statement.

    • Russ July 28, 2014, 8:13 pm

      Probably loyalty to employees that find it hard to pull up roots at this time.

    • Larry Jones July 29, 2014, 3:05 am

      Who knows, maybe Maryland will make it illegal to take orders and sell firearms from their state. I agree that Beretta should move Lock, Stock, and Barrel out of Maryland just like they did in Brazil when they sold their factory there to Taurus. The move won’t just hurt the empoyees that can’t move with them. Maryland will be paying a lot of unemployment benefits to the one’s left behind. The businesses that profitted from the employees at Beretta will be hurting too. Take care of all the folks you put out of a job. I guess Ladd “Idiot” Everitt don’t worry about all the collateral damage this will inflict in that city.

  • John July 28, 2014, 9:33 am

    People like Ladd Everitt just do not get the fact that people who with criminal intent will get a weapon somewhere without any background check, and with any magazine they want, no law can stop a lawbreaker. What can you do to a person who is planning the ultimate crime? Obviously a gun law is not going to stop that person. How about working on drunk driver laws, they kill more each year by 10 fold than guns. Whats the matter liquor lobbies too big and their payoffs too nice?

  • glenn howard July 28, 2014, 9:30 am

    good for them, more will do the same

  • MitchB July 28, 2014, 9:04 am

    Northeastern states have been run by big city left wing loon gun haters for so long the citizens now believe it is normal. Large population centers are a ball and chain to America with high crime rates and fewer freedoms for the law abiding. Good places to be away from.

  • icetrout July 28, 2014, 7:40 am

    Maryland is no longer the FreeState… communist strong hold…

    • Dale December 8, 2014, 8:42 am

      Better question is how to we repeal these unconstitutional laws? Clearly it is a violation of our constitutional rights. Next they will be coming door to door to collect your guns and rifles. Just wait its coming…..

  • Boyce July 28, 2014, 7:15 am

    Welcome to TN , We appreciate your jobs & the quality of your guns !

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