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One thing you can say with absolute certainty about the big gun manufacturers is that, unlike many other American companies, they stand by their principles and are as good as their word. Beretta, which is the world’s oldest firearms manufacturer, promised that, if Maryland passed its strict (and almost certainly ineffectual) post-Sandy Hook gun control laws, Beretta would pack its bags and leave the state.
On Friday, Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley signed into law the state’s comprehensive new gun control laws. The new laws, the stated purpose of which is to “save lives,” ban some “assault weapons” (whatever the heck gun grabbers think those imaginary weapons are), limits magazine capacity to ten rounds, and requires mandatory fingerprinting for gun purchase.
The first two prohibitions prove definitely that Maryland has no interest in “saving lives.” If it did, it would have paid attention to the fact that the Department of Justice has issued a report conceding that crime goes down when legal gun ownership goes up. Moreover, there’s no evidence that an arbitrary ten-round limit benefits anyone but the bad guys.
For Beretta, the Governor’s signature was the sign it needed that now is the time to move on. The move isn’t just about the symbolism of these ineffectual gun control statutes. It also came about because the legislation would make illegal the company’s ARX 100, which is Beretta’s newly issued civilian version of the ARX-160, a tactical rifle used in Italy.
The magazine size limit also puts Beretta in a legal bind. For several of the guns in its product line, Beretta would no longer be able to stock appropriate, standard capacity magazines. While this wouldn’t necessarily force Beretta to close, it would complicate Beretta’s corporate life to the point of “why bother?”.
While the move will inconvenience Beretta, it’s Maryland that will take the real hit, since Beretta has paid Maryland $31 million in taxes over the years – and that’s not even counting the 400 jobs that will be lost because of the move. Moreover, Beretta had actually been planning to expand its plant in Maryland, which would have created more jobs and paid more taxes. Now, though, as Jeffrey Reh, Beretta’s general counsel asked, “Why expand in a place where the people who built the gun couldn’t buy it?”
Beretta hasn’t yet announced where its move will take it. Certainly there are are several Second Amendment friendly states that have been wooing hard those arms manufacturers being driven out of blue states. Indeed, Texas has made headlines for its open invitations.
Beretta is not the only fire arms company that is taking a stand against unconstitutional gun-grabbing legislation. LaRue Tactical got the ball rolling when it announced that it would apply to law enforcement agencies the same laws that an agency’s state imposed on civilians. So many manufacturers and dealers agreed with LaRue’s idea that they formed a Firearms Equality Movement. Vltor took the matter to a whole new level when it promised to stop doing business entirely with gun control states.
Gun manufacturers headquartered in gun grab states decided that they were no longer being made to feel welcome – despite the millions in business their presence brought to these states – and announced that they were going to pull out. Magpul promised to leave Colorado; and Colt’s Manufacturing has announced that, after 175 years, it’s leaving Connecticut.
Beretta, a corporation operating under the constitutional protection of the Second Amendment, brought lots money into and created lots jobs in Maryland. Maryland responded by making large parts of Beretta’s business illegal or prohibitively inconvenient. Showing the principled good sense that all of the major gun manufacturers have shown lately, Beretta is taking its plan and its jobs and its money and leaving town.