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Va. politicians woo Beretta as Maryland weighs gun crackdown

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Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell and Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley are in a seemingly never-ending battle to lure — or keep — jobs and companies on their side of the Potomac River.

And it seems that Pete Snyder, a Republican running this year for lieutenant governor in Virginia, is catching on quickly.

Beretta USA, a major weapons manufacturer, is weighing whether to bolt from Maryland if Mr. O’Malley and the Democratic-dominated Maryland legislature follow through with proposed new gun laws, including a ban on so-called assault weapons.

Aides to Mr. O’Malley say the bill stops short of an outright ban on the manufacture of so-called assault weapons, in part in an effort to keep Beretta from leaving. But company officials note that the new law would prohibit them from selling many of their products in the state where their U.S. operations are based.

Mr. Snyder said the Old Dominion would welcome the company with open arms.

“In Virginia, we have a tradition of respect for the right to bear arms, and a robust culture of firearms-ownership for sport, for defending ourselves and our property, and for the best reason of all: because it is our right,” he wrote in a letter to Mr. Reh on Tuesday. “After all, it was a Virginian, James Madison, who penned our nation’s Bill of Rights.”

Mr. Snyder, the founder and chief executive officer of the investment company Disruptor Capital, wrote that, as a businessman and entrepreneur, he can attest that Virginia’s tax and regulatory climate is much better than her neighbor to the north.

Beretta already operates a facility in Fredericksburg — “but I can say with confidence that your business would be welcomed with open arms in all parts of the Commonwealth,” Mr. Snyder wrote.

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