Congressman invites Italian gun maker to Indiana

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U.S. Rep. Marlin Stutzman of northeastern Indiana is encouraging Beretta, the Italian gun manufacturer threatening to leave Maryland over a proposed assault weapons ban, to consider moving operations to Indiana.

Stutzman sent a letter March 5 to Ugo Gusalli Beretta, president of Beretta USA, asking him to consider moving the U.S. headquarters here.

“Like you, I was disappointed to learn the Governor of Maryland is strongly advocating for the adoption of S.B. 281, a bill that would create a business environment hostile to firearms manufacturers,” Stutzman wrote.

Referencing a Beretta executive’s testimony about the company’s commitment to places where it does business, Stutzman wrote, “You would find your commitment to local communities reciprocated in Indiana. Hoosiers would proudly welcome Beretta’s operation with a noticeably different tone and more competitive tax and regulatory structure than what you must navigate in Maryland.”

Stutzman ended by borrowing a phrase from President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who said, “We must be the great arsenal of democracy,” in a Dec. 29, 1940, fireside chat that exhorted the nation to build up its military firepower.

Citing Indiana’s record of producing “more than a half million side arms for the U.S. military and more than a million firearms for the American public, I am hopeful you will consider relocating your part of the arsenal of democracy to the great state of Indiana. Governor Mike Pence and Eric Doden, President of the Indiana Economic Development Corp., are … ready to assist,” Stutzman said.

Lawmakers from Virginia and West Virginia also made overtures to Beretta.

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