My family has operated our business from the same small town in northern Italy for 500 years. This means that when we make a commitment to a local community, our hope is to do so for decades, if not centuries, to come.
We apply this same philosophy to all of our factories and locations throughout the world. Such a commitment is not a one-way street, though.
In return for our investment in jobs, facilities and assistance to the local economy, we ask for respect and a supportive business climate.
We deserve such respect. We make the standard sidearm for the U.S. armed forces. We also make firearms that police and consumers use to save their lives and the lives of others.
We also make sporting firearms that are enjoyed by tens of millions of people worldwide, from Olympic shooters to weekend hunters.
Our business has grown in recent years, and because of that, we needed to expand production in our U.S facility, located in Accokeek, just outside of Washington, D.C., in the Maryland suburbs.
Unfortunately, as we were planning that expansion, Maryland’s governor and legislature voted in favor of new regulations that unfairly attack products we make and that our customers want.
These regulations also demean our law-abiding customers, who must now be fingerprinted like criminals before they can be allowed to purchase one of our products.
We have seen these types of legislative proposals in Maryland before, and they never seem to reduce crime. Maybe this is because the proponents of such legislation blame the product instead of human misconduct.’
But in any event, because of these new restrictions and the pattern of harassment aimed at lawful firearm owners we have seen in Maryland over the decades, we decided to expand our facilities in a state that shows more respect for citizens who exercise their Second Amendment rights.
We chose Tennessee for our new facility expansion. Our plans for that location are extensive and long-lasting.
We chose Tennessee because the governor and legislators in that state understand what it means to support businesses (such as through job recruitment and training programs) that improve employment in the state without treating companies as a necessary evil.
We chose Tennessee also because the vast majority of its residents and their elected officials have shown that they respect and honor the American tradition of personal freedoms, including the right to bear arms.
Ugo Gussalli Beretta is CEO and president of Beretta Holding S.p.A.