Beretta chooses Tennessee for new plant

Gun manufacturer Beretta USA announced Wednesday it would build its newest plant not in Maryland, but in Tennessee.

Last year, the centuries-old Italian gun-maker threatened to abandon plans to expand its U.S. headquarters in Prince George's County when Maryland weighed some of the toughest gun laws in the country.


At least eight states began trying to woo Maryland gun manufacturers last year. When state lawmakers approved a ban on the sale of assault-style rifles - some of which Beretta had been developing at its Accokeek plant - the company said it would look elsewhere for its next $45-million, 300-job plant.

On Wednesday, the company announced it had followed through on those plans and would build a new research and development plant in Gallatin, a town of about 30,000 people north east of Nashville. It will be the first U.S. Beretta manufacturing plant outside of Maryland.

Franco Gussalli Beretta, the family-owned company's executive vice president, said in a speech that Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam personally visited with him and his family to persuade them to move there. 
Jeff Reh, a member of the company's board of directors, said Wednesday the company seriously considered seven different states but began with one criterion: 

"We started our search by looking only at states that have a consistent history of support for and likelihood of future support for Second Amendment rights," Reh said in a statement.


There was no announcement regarding a move of Beretta USA's headquarters, which has been in Accokeek for more than three decades.