Italian Gun-Maker Moves All U.S. Production To Tennessee

The U.S. Army practices with the M-9 Beretta.  The Beretta M-9 9 mm pistol will continue to be produced in Maryland, until all the current orders for the U.S Armed Forces have been filled.  Credit: U.S Army

The U.S. Army practices with the M-9 Beretta which will continue to be produced in Maryland, until all the current orders for the U.S Armed Forces have been filled. Credit: U.S Army

Italian gun-maker Beretta will be moving all of its manufacturing to Tennessee.

Beretta has called Maryland its U.S. home since 1977. But after  Gov. Martin O’Malley passed the Firearm Safety Act of 2013, the company worried its business would be disrupted, and that guns would be confiscated.

Earlier this year, the company announced plans to open a research and development facility and new production lines in Gallatin. Now, the company says it will move the Maryland production lines “in their entirety to the new Tennessee facility.”

Beretta had threatened to exit Maryland after the state passed a new gun-control law. James Fenton, executive director of the Gallatin’s Economic Development Agency, says the gun maker was worried some of its products would be confiscated under Maryland law.

“When they got wind that Maryland was going to passing some stricter gun laws, they went and sat down with the folks there, and said: ‘If you pass this, we will have to move’. And that was indeed what happened.'”

The Gallatin plant is expected to open next summer.  Beretta says is will keeps its administrative offices in Maryland.

The Maryland gun control law, seen as one of the strictest in the country, followed a slate of public shootings, including a school shooting in Newtown, Conn. The law, among other things, bans the sale of 45 types of assault weapons. It also requires gun buyers to submit fingerprints to get a license to buy a handgun.

Reporter Bobby Allyn contributed to this report.

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