Sunday, May 1, 2016

Gunmakers pull up stakes, head south

Northern states, particularly northeastern states, just don't seem to learn. Their officials hobnob with that specific political party that doesn't have any use for firearms. They keep business taxes high and adopt more and more gun-hating laws. Gun-loving Southern states are thrilled. They get more gun plants, more jobs.
The latest companies to head south are Beretta and Remington.
Little more than a week ago, Beretta introduced its new plant in Gallatin, Tenn., near Nashville, a $45 million investment. The loser: Maryland, where Beretta had operated since 1980.
Beretta, which has been in business close to 500 years, will use its new plant to build the M9 handgun for armed forces. “Firearms are an important part of the culture in the United States, the culture of the outdoors and self-defense,” said Franco Gussalli Beretta, the executive vice president of Beretta USA. “So we were thinking it was important to develop our future business in a part of the country where all these concepts are clear and respected.”
Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam applauded the decision at the opening ceremony of Beretta's manufacturing and research facility.
“They had questions about staying in Maryland because they didn't really feel appreciated there.” Haslam said, “Obviously in Tennessee,we take great pride in the Second Amendment, and we were proud to have a company like Beretta move here.”
While the facility employs 75 people, Beretta expects to expand that to 300 jobs in the next few years.
The company reported sales of $430 million in the United States in 2015, out of $725 million sales worldwide, said Pietro Gussalli Beretta, the president and CEO of Beretta Holding.
“Now the flag of the Beretta Group is in Tennessee,” he said.
Remington is celebrating its 200th anniversary. It is America's oldest gunmaker, and the national gun magazines are heralding the achievement with history and new details. New to Remington is a plant in Huntsville, Ala. Thought it is keeping its historic plant in Ilion, N.Y., Remington is building many of its legacy guns and those with new designs in the new plant.
Last year, Kahr Arms opened a plant in Blooming Grove, Pa. Ruger has a new one in North Carolina, and Colt moved into one in Texas.
The political people don't get it. Jobs, protection, enjoyment, challenges in precision and hunting abound in what they consider harmful activity.
Not many Americans have been enamored of the overall economy in recent years, but the gun industry is definitely contributing more than its share to bolster it.
The industry added 24,763 jobs in 2015, the National Shooting Sports Foundation reported. The nearly 10 percent increase is attributed to manufacturing and retail jobs for guns, ammunition and related supplies, like hunting gear. The NSSF said the last few years of job growth in the industry has been “nothing short of remarkable,” reporting an overall increase of 73 percent since 2008.
Wages and benefits from guns average $50,180, with many of the jobs in rural areas and small towns, where cost of living is relatively low.
The state at the top of the industry, of course, is Texas, with about 21,386 jobs. Next are California, Florida, Pennsylvania, Ohio, North Carolina and Missouri.
The economic impact from revenue, wages, benefits and taxes, totaled $49.3 billion in 2015, up 15% from 2014. NSSF said.
Charles Rondinelli is a freelance writer. Reach him at

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