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Beretta: Md. Gun Laws Forcing Move To Tennessee

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(TIMM SCHAMBERGER/AFP/Getty Images)

(TIMM SCHAMBERGER/AFP/Getty Images)

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Derek Valcourt began working at WJZ in September 2002. His first major...
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ACCOKEEK, Md. (WJZ) — A major gun manufacturer decides to pull all of its production out of Maryland and move it to Tennessee. The Beretta corporation blames its decision on the state’s new tougher gun control laws.

Derek Valcourt explains the move is taking jobs out of Maryland.

Beretta’s decision means the loss of more than 150 jobs at their Maryland facility.

Inside the Beretta plant in Accokeek, Maryland, they’ve been making some of the world’s most sought after guns. But soon, those guns will be made in Tennessee.

It’s a decision the company pulled the trigger on after the Maryland legislature began debating the Firearm Safety Act last year, including one version of the bill the company says would have banned them from making certain guns.

“It really rattled our confidence in the stability of the state government and their support for us,” said Jeff Reh, Beretta. “In Tennessee, the idea of even trying something like that would be almost unfathomable.”

The company says keeping production in Maryland is just too risky for its operations. Now, 160 of the jobs here will move.

The Accokeek building’s proximity to Washington, D.C. means the company will only keep administrative offices in Maryland — like sales, financing and accounting. Anything to do with actually making the guns will go to Tennessee.

“Governor O’Malley and Lieutenant Governor Brown are responsible for these jobs leaving our state,” said Delegate Nic Kipke, (R) Anne Arundel County.

Republican lawmakers are now blasting Democrats for passing gun control that Republicans say isn’t stopping gun crime.

“It’s still a major problem. This bill did nothing to address it, and as a consequence, we’ve lost a major employer here in our state,” Kipke said.

The governor’s office responded with a statement, saying:

“We’re disappointed with this decision, but the common sense gun safety law we passed, which includes licenses for handgun purchases, is keeping schools, communities and law enforcement personnel safe.”

Beretta says they will begin the move in the middle of 2015 and expect the entire relocation to be completed by the end of that year.

The new production facility will be located in Gallatin, Tennessee.

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