Pro-Gun Culture Helped Tennessee Nab Beretta Expansion From Maryland

Tennessee's governor and head of economic development speak Wednesday at a press conference alongside Beretta USA director Franco Gussalli Beretta, as well as Jeff Reh, the company's general counsel. (Photo by Daniel Potter)

Tennessee’s governor and head of economic development speak Wednesday at a press conference alongside Beretta USA director Franco Gussalli Beretta, as well as Jeff Reh, the company’s general counsel. (Photo by Daniel Potter)

A centuries-old Italian gun-maker announced today it will build a new factory in Gallatin, creating 300 new jobs assembling rifles and shotguns. To lure Beretta to Tennessee, the state’s strong support of gun rights was a factor.

Beretta USA is based in Maryland, but last year the company reportedly threatened to leave that state altogether over a new gun-control law.  That’s part of why when the company decided to expand elsewhere, Tennessee stood out, says Beretta’s Jeff Reh:

“We started our search by looking only at those states that we felt had a consistent history and likely future history of support for second-amendment rights,” Reh said, to cheers from state officials attending the announcement.

Reh says some workers at the Maryland facility may choose to transfer to Tennessee, but the 300 new jobs don’t mean its older site is ramping down.

The company says it’ll spend some $45 million for the new manufacturing and R&D facility in Gallatin, northeast of Nashville.  State officials sidestepped questions over just what kind of economic incentives helped sway the company’s decision, saying the details aren’t final.

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