Someone please inform the Washington Post that their order of schadenfreude is ready. Gun companies were not kidding when they said they’d leave if states passed anti-gun laws that outlawed their products. Apparently, the concept of companies being honest is alien to those poor souls trapped inside the Beltway:
It’s not uncommon for businesses to promise consequences when state lawmakers consider measures they’re unhappy with. Sometimes the companies are bluffing, but when it comes to gun control measures at least a few are following through with threats to invest elsewhere.
In May, Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley signed into law a set of gun-control measures. At the time, firearm-maker Beretta, which has a presence in the state, criticized the law as being unacceptable despite amendments it says it was able to secure. The law “went from being atrocious to simply being bad,” Beretta said in a statement at the time. It was so offensive, in fact, that the company said it would consider making future investments out of state.
“Prior to introduction of this legislation, the three Beretta Holding companies located in Maryland were experiencing growth in revenues and jobs and had begun expansion plans in factory and other operations,” the company said. “The idea now of investing additional funds in Maryland and thus rewarding a Government that has insulted our customers and our products is offensive to us so we will take steps to evaluate such investments in other States.”
Maryland’s law goes into effect in just a few weeks and Beretta seems to be holding true to its promise. Georgia’s Upson County is developing incentive packages to attract a new Beretta plant that could house 400 employees, the Atlanta Business Chronicle recently reported. Georgia and North Carolina are among the seven states Beretta says it’s considering expanding to.
It will be years before all the relocation dust settles, perhaps a decade or more. While some companies will indeed go the route of Kahr, Magpul, PTR Industries and Stag Arms and move the entire company all at once, others will simply push their growth to more freedom-and job-friendly southern states, as Remington and Ruger have been doing for years.
Whatever final form it takes, we do know that there is going to be a substantial engineering “brain drain” of talented firearms designers and machinists leaving the anti-gun states, along with billions of dollars per year in tax revenue.
Actions have have consequences, as school boards in these states are going to learn soon enough when the departure of these companies affects their budgets.