Jeff Reh is the general counsel and vice-GM of Beretta USA as well as a member of their Board of Directors. In addition, he is the President of their Stoeger subsidiary. In the speech below, he explains why Beretta chose Gallatin, Tennesse as the location for their expansion.
Beretta probably would have expanded at or near their Accokeek, Maryland plant if that state hadn’t passed their onerous gun control laws in May 2013. Gov. Martin O’Malley and the gun prohibitionists in the Maryland legislature cost that state at least 300 jobs by passing the new gun control law. Moreover, I would not be surprised to see that more and more of the operations in Maryland will be transferred to Tennessee as time goes by.
As Reh notes in his speech, they only looked at states that had a consistent and strong support for the Second Amendment. While many in West Virginia are strong supporters of the Second Amendment, many of their politicians are lax in their support. It was specifically due to Joe Manchin and his push for gun control that West Virginia was crossed off the list of potential expansion locations.
The transcript of Jeff Reh’s speech:
“The Beretta family has manufactured products and done business from the same town in northern Italy for almost 500 years. This means that when Beretta chooses a location for its business, we plan not just in terms of a return on investment within the next few years. We also start with the possibility that we will be in that location for decades, if not hundreds of years, to come.
Around March 2013 the Beretta family decided to expand its manufacturing and business operations outside Maryland, where Beretta U.S.A. is located. 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.
We then reduced this list of States further by looking at traditional business-related factors such as tax rates, cost of living, cost of doing business, availability of white and blue collar workers, traditions of high-level manufacturing in the area, the quality of local educational institutions, availability of job recruitment, screening and training, and so forth.
From that analysis we reduced our list of States to seven. Working through the Governor’s Office in each of those states, we came up with a list of 80 sites within those seven States that we then visited over the past five months. Based on those visits we narrowed the list of 80 sites down to six. Then we made second and third visits to those locations and reduced that list to three.
We scored each of those three locations using 20 evaluation criteria and, based on those evaluations, we unanimously chose Gallatin, Tennessee as the best of all the candidate locations we saw. Our choice was then confirmed through a personal visit by Mr. Ugo Gussalli Beretta, Franco’s father, to Gallatin on December 30, 2013.
I can say, based on this very rigorous search methodology, that not only was Tennessee the best State we found within which to locate our business, but also that Gallatin provided the best location for us within Tennessee. We thus move forward with confidence knowing that Tennessee is a great place to do business. We look forward to our opportunities here and we look forward to working side-by-side with our new Tennessee neighbors.”