January 21, 2018

Senator Stephenson files bill to encourage Beretta to move to Utah


Maryland’s loss could become Utah’s gain.

As Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley this week signed one of the strictest gun control laws in the nation,  firearms manufacturer Beretta considered  the effect of the new law on it long-time manufacturing operations in the state.

“We are confronted with a state government that wants to ban our products at a time, by the way, when numerous other state governments are courting our investment,” Beretta General Counsel Jeff Reh is quoted as telling lawmakers in February. “Not surprisingly, we are concerned.”

State Senator Howard Stephenson thinks Beretta might find Utah an attractive alternative to Maryland and wants the legislature to do what it can to make it more so.

Stephenson thinks Utah would be a great home for Beretta’s manufacturing operations. By removing barriers to manufacturing, Beretta could find Utah a great place for its manufacturing operations, he told me this evening. He has opened a bill file to get the process started.

Howard StephensonWith Utah’s Second Amendment friendly laws, strong business environment, and educated workforce, Stephenson says taking steps to encourage Beretta to move or expand into Utah as soon as possible could pay off.

“In Maryland, Beretta has paid more than 31 million dollars in taxes,” said Stephenson in a statement on the Utah Senate Site.  “They currently employ more than 400 people.”

For example, Stephenson told me that while Utah has already removed many of the taxes on manufactured goods, Utah retains taxes on goods with a useful life of less than three years. Removing these taxes on manufactured goods completely would enhance the opportunity for a manufacturer like Beretta even more. Many of the parts and components in Beretta’s firearms and other products must be replaced in less than three years.

Even though the Utah legislature isn’t due to be in session until next year, Stephenson told me that if Beretta is interested it would be possible to call a special session to pass any specific legislation drafted.


About Daniel Burton

Daniel Burton lives in Salt Lake County, Utah, where he practices law by day and everything else by night. You can follow him on his blog PubliusOnline.com where he muses on politics, the law, books and ideas. He is active on social media, Republican politics, and has been named to PoliticIt’s list of the “Top-50 Utah Political Opinion Leaders” on Twitter. You can reach him directly at dan.burton@gmail.com

  • How do you feel about these governmental efforts to attract employers. Do you think it really has the benefits that the legislators claim? I’m uncomfortable when we give special deals to preferred employers.

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