‘Berettas Don’t Bluff’

‘Berettas Don’t Bluff’

Posted in the Columbus Forum

Hugh Victor Thompson III

“Larchmont's Leading Citizen”

Since: Dec 12

Hilliard, OH

#1 Feb 24, 2013
On the production floor of Beretta USA sits a hulking new barrel-making machine ready to churn out the next object of obsession in America’s love-hate relationship with guns: a civilian version of a machine gun designed for special operations forces and popularized in the video game Call of Duty.

Beretta, the nearly 500-year-old family-owned company that made one of James Bond’s firearms, has already invested more than $1 million in the machine and has planned to expand its plant further in Prince George’s County to ramp up production.

But under an assault-weapons ban that advanced late last week in the Maryland General Assembly, experts say the gun would be illegal in the state where it is produced.

Now Beretta is weighing whether the rifle line, and perhaps the company itself, should stay in a place increasingly hostile toward its products. Its iconic 9mm pistol — carried by every U.S. soldier and scores of police departments — would also be banned with its high capacity, 13-bullet magazine.

“Why expand in a place where the people who built the gun couldn’t buy it?” said Jeffrey Reh, general counsel for Beretta.

Concern that the company will leave, and take its 300 jobs with it, is palpable among state lawmakers who worry it could be collateral damage from Gov. Martin O’Malley’s proposed gun-control bill.

Among other restrictions, O’Malley’s bill would ban assault rifles, magazines with more than 10 bullets and any new guns with two or more “military-like” features. Gun experts said it’s a near-certainty that Beretta’s semiautomatic version of the ARX-160, now only a prototype, would be banned under O’Malley’s bill.

“I’m concerned. I think they’re going to move,” said Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr.(D-Calvert).“They sell guns across the world and in every state in the union — to places a lot more friendly to the company than this state.”

In Beretta’s low-slung factory along the Potomac River in Accokeek, where walls are lined with trophy heads of caribou, wild boars and black bears shot by employees, the legislation proposed by O’Malley (D) feels like an affront.

In testimony this month in Annapolis, Reh, who oversees the plant, warned lawmakers to consider carefully the company’s future. Reh pointed to the last time Maryland ratcheted up gun restrictions in the 1990s: Beretta responded by moving its warehouse operation to Virginia.

“I think they thought we were bluffing” in the 1990s, Reh said.“But Berettas don’t bluff.”

“We literally are part of the arsenal of democracy,” said Reh, sweeping his hand toward the production floor, where on a recent afternoon more than 1,000 of the military version of the pistol sat in various stages of assembly.“That’s why we consider this so insulting.”

To fulfill the contract, Beretta expanded the plant by the length of a football field, installed an underground shooting range and hired 500 people. By 1990, during the peak of the first Gulf War, the company was the second-largest employer in Southern Maryland and had a supply chain of contractors that employed hundreds more.

The company’s Italian patriarch, Ugo Gussalli Beretta, visited the plant shortly after O’Malley introduced his gun-control bill, and the two discussed the issue. But Reh declined to say if the two reached any decisions about what would happen if the governor’s bill passes.

“All I can tell you is, Mr. Beretta said,‘There always seems to be a problem with Maryland.’ ”
http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/md-politi...
Spookhere F trolls

Toledo, OH

#2 Feb 24, 2013
They should move everything out of Maryland and Virgina to Texas

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