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Another lawmaker eager to court Beretta

First House Speaker Rick Thompson appealed directly to arms manufacturer Beretta USA to move from Maryland to West Virginia.

Now his judiciary chairman, Delegate Tim Miley, is urging Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin to court the company and says he brought the situation to Thompson's attention.   

Miley, D-Harrison, posted a letter addressed to the governor on his website Monday.  

The letter urges Tomblin to try to persuade the gun maker to leave Maryland, where proposed gun control legislation is reportedly making the company consider a change.

"As we both know, the citizens of this great state overwhelmingly support the 2nd Amendment right to keep and bear arms," Miley says in the letter.

Last Friday Thompson released a letter he had sent to Beretta USA Executive Vice President Franco Beretta.

Thompson wrote that West Virginians would not support a law like the one moving through the Maryland General Assembly, according to a press release.

Miley's letter says he notified Thompson of the Beretta situation and sent him a copy of an article in The Washington Post.  

"Speaker Thompson was not aware of Beretta's possible relocation until I sent him a similar request and he has quickly 'grabbed the bull by the horns' and has made efforts to contact Beretta directly," Miley writes in his letter to the governor.   

Pete Snyder, a Republican candidate for Virginia lieutenant governor, also wrote to Beretta last week, according to the Post.

Thompson touts the number of West Virginians who own guns, while Miley pointed to the number of bills introduced in the Legislature that aim to counter gun-control efforts.

"Indeed, there have been many bills introduced already in this legislative session that send a loud and clear message to the world of the freedom we enjoy in West Virginia (and which we intend to keep) to own and use firearms for self-defense, recreation, and hunting," Miley writes.

As of Monday 28 bills introduced in the House or Senate deal with firearms. Most seek loosened restrictions on owning or carrying guns.

In his letter, Miley asks Tomblin to investigate the move, prepare a proposal highlighting West Virginia's attributes and let Beretta know if there are any tax breaks or other incentives available.

Beretta doesn't appear to have made any further statements as to whether it will actually move.  A Tomblin representative was unaware of Miley's letter and did not know if the governor would pursue the company.




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