This one is hot off the press, folks: Gun Manufacturer Beretta Firearms Decides to Leave Maryland! According to a recent press release sent out by Jeff Cooper, the US General Manager for Beretta, the company will be moving all of its Accokeek Maryland based manufacturing to the Gallatin, Tennessee location. Beretta is a firearms manufacturer. In moving, Beretta will relocate its 45 million dollar investment along with over 300 jobs. Beretta plans to leave their administrative office in the Maryland location.
Gun Manufacturer Beretta Firearms Decides to Leave Maryland: The Firearm Safety Act of 2013
Many pundits feel this change occurred because of Democratic Gov. Martin O’Malley and new Maryland gun control laws. O’Malley pushed one of the most ambitious gun-control agendas in the country. Republicans largely opposed the new legislation. They feel concerned about the economic impact of Beretta’s decision.
Beretta’s move is actually a new decision. The company initially planned to only manufacture new products in the Tennessee location. They would leave legacy lines (and the lines’ manufacturing) behind in Maryland. However, Maryland law now requires gun manufacturers to register as firearms dealers. Some manufacturers feel these newer laws could expose them to loop holes which allow lawsuits for selling and shipping firearms.
However this transition of production will not take place until 2015. It will be managed so as to not disrupt deliveries to Beretta customers. As far as Beretta’s production of the U.S. Armed Forces M9 9mm pistol is concerned, manufacturing of the pistol will continue at the Accokeek, Maryland facility until all current orders from the U.S. Armed Forces have been fulfilled.
The Firearm Safety Act of 2013 added other 40 new types of firearms to Maryland’s previous list of prohibited “assault weapons.” The law also banned the sale of any magazine capable of holding over 10 rounds and required handgun buyers to submit to fingerprint licensing.
However, this hefty assault-weapons ban isn’t the only part of the governor’s bill that Beretta dislikes. “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,” said Jeff Cooper. “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.”
Gun Manufacturer Beretta Firearms Decides to Leave Maryland: A Brief History of Beretta
Founded in 1526, Beretta is the oldest active firearms manufacturer in the world. Gunsmith maestro Bartolomeo Beretta founded the company. The master gun barrel maker lived in Gardone, Italy. Beretta held contracts with the Italian Royal Army during both WWI and WWII. In 1915, Beretta produced the Model 1915, the company’s first pistol. By the end of WWII, Beretta manufactured roughly 4,000 Model 1915s a month. In 1975, Beretta introduced the Model 92 9mm pistol. The Model 92/M9 is perhaps the most widely used self-loading (or semi automatic) pistol in both law enforcement and the military in the world today. At certain times in US history, the Model 92 and its derivatives were adopted as the official pistol of US military and law enforcement personnel.
Beretta entered the US market in 1977. They reached their greatest pinnacle of success when their Beretta 92 series pistols were adopted by the American Armed Forces and law enforcement in 1985. Subsequently, the French National Gendarmerie and Air Force also opted for a similar solution. Moreover, when Ian Fleming first introduced James Bond in Casino Royale, he used a Beretta 418 in a flat chamois leather holster (rather than the Walther PPK we think of now).
Gun Manufacturer Beretta Firearms Decides to Leave Maryland: Beretta’s Contribution in Maryland
More than employing 400 Maryland residents between 1997 and 2014, Beretta contributed with an estimated $31 million in state taxes. They invested $73 million into the company’s infrastructure. In the meantime, Texas Gov. Rick Perry and South Carolina Rep. Jeff Duncan invited gun makers around the country to relocate to their state, promising no unwarranted government intrusion into the businesses. Surely, Maryland is losing both a valuable asset and rich, historical lineage with Beretta’s departure from the state.
With that being said, you shouldn’t let this news discourage you from pursuing your dreams of becoming a gunsmith. If you live in the state of Maryland and you’re interested in becoming a certified gunsmith, we have a list of areas with local schools that specialize in gunsmithing: Baltimore, Annapolis, Bel Air, Ocean City, Columbia.