The arms industry, consisting of weapons manufacturers and military technology and equipment, is finding itself increasingly at a point where it is forced to re-strategize its position in the United States. Blue states in particular are making it hard for any kind of arms distributor to carry out regular orders under the pressure of new gun-control laws, making these companies now feel unable to conduct business in locations where they have been established for years.
Beretta U.S.A. Corp. is the latest in a string of gun makers that have felt the need to relocate. The company is a manufacturer of military, police and civilian pistols, and a subsidiary of the Italian-based multinational firearms manufacturer Fabbrica d’Armi Pietro Beretta, or simply Beretta. In an announcement Tuesday, company representatives said it will officially be leaving its post in Accokeek, Maryland, where it has produced firearms since 1977. Instead, Beretta USA will take its manufacturing operation to a more gun-friendly red state in Tennessee.
The new Tennessee facility was initially supposed to be used for new production lines and equipment only, while Maryland resumed operations at its Accokeek facility, but after Maryland passed the Firearms Safety Act of 2013, Beretta was made to feel less than welcome by the blue state that has always been its home away from home. The arms industry across the board is starting to feel these same pressures from blue states around the country.
The legislation was pushed into law in response to the national outcry over the December 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings in Newtown, Connecticut. The law prohibits 45 assault weapons and puts a limit on 10 bullet gun magazines, according to U.S. News, and also includes other provisions and licensing agreements for the purchase of handguns.
As Beretta walks away from Maryland, Tennessee is readily accepting of the $45 million investment that the gun maker will make, along with the roughly 300 people it will employ over the next five years, according to Fox News, and even if Beretta does maintain some office, executive and administrative support from its Accokeek location, which it maintains it will do, Beretta is all but gone from Maryland for good.
It comes as no real surprise. A lot of arms industry firms, especially gun companies, are uprooting and taking their business to more gun-friendly states. The granddaddy US gun manufacturer Colt has had to expand its operations into Florida because of encroaching gun laws in its home base of Hartford, Connecticut. Ruger is following suit, filing into Florida from Connecticut since early 2014, according to Forbes. The list goes on. Magpul moved from Colorado to Texas and Wyoming. HiViz did the same. Shield Tactical is planning to move from California to Texas. American Tactical will choose South Carolina instead of staying in New York. Stag Arms, PTR Industries (H&K), Ithaca Gun Company, Mossberg – they are all seeking refuge in red states.
These companies and others like them helped build the foundation that the U.S. A. stands on. Some of the first industrial facilities on American soil were part of the arms industry that would later become big business in America. These very companies drive the pursuit of American craftsmanship and weaponry for the defense systems that maintain the strength of the United States. It was President George Washington who created the first arms facilities to provide small arms for the Army and Navy. It is companies like Beretta and the others that defend U.S. interests in time of need. It is these same companies of arms and an industry as a whole that is being shunned and forced out and made to feel like they are not welcome in the very blue states that they have so loyally stood by and protected for so long – the arms industry is feeling the blues.
Opinion by Justin Williams