- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Maryland-based gun manufacturer Beretta USA announced Wednesday that it will build a $45 million firearms manufacturing plant in Tennessee, giving rise to concern over what will happen to its Accokeek plant.

A number of states began wooing the Italian company to relocate last year after its officials expressed concern over Maryland’s passage of strict new gun laws.

Statements issued by company officials Wednesday do not explicitly say whether Beretta USA plans to eventually replace the Maryland plant with the Tennessee facility. A spokesman could not be immediately reached for comment.

“From the moment when we started to consider a location outside of the state of Maryland for our manufacturing expansion, the governor and his economic development team did an excellent job demonstrating the benefits of doing business in Tennessee,” said Franco Gussalli Beretta, executive vice president of Beretta USA, in a statement.

The company employs some 400 workers and expects to create another 300 jobs at its Tennessee plant, which is expected to be complete by the end of the year.

Beretta USA manufactures a variety of firearms, ranging from hunting shotguns to the U.S. Armed Forces M-9 pistol.

The company began its search for a new location outside of Maryland in March 2013.

“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,” Beretta general counsel Jeff Reh said in a statement.

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