CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Maryland-based firearm manufacturer Beretta USA will not relocate its operations to West Virginia, company officials said, despite courting from state lawmakers and municipalities around the state.
Beretta's general counsel Jeffrey Reh blamed Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., for the company's decision.
In a letter to the Hardy County Rural Development Authority, Reh wrote that Beretta analyzed each state that offered the company a new home to determine its stance on Second Amendment rights.
"As a consequence of that analysis and especially due to Senator Manchin's recent legislative choices we have decided not to consider your State for our future plans of expansion," he wrote.
"We know that anti-gun sentiments are not shared by everyone within your State but we are looking first and foremost for a widespread and stable place of political support in any potential location."
Manchin, D-W.Va., along with Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., co-authored a measure to expand background check requirements and close the so-called "gun show loophole."
Although federal laws require licensed gun dealers to perform background checks, whether at brick-and-mortar stores or gun shows, there currently is no such requirement for unlicensed private dealers, who could sell guns from their home, out of the back of a pick-up truck as well as at gun shows, alongside licensed dealers.
Reh, speaking to the Daily Mail on Friday, said the Manchin-Toomey bill would have "blocked sales throughout the country at traditional chain stores and retail outlets."
He said the bill would have given priority to background checks performed at gun shows, which happen every weekend around the country. That could flood the background check system, causing problems for customers who are waiting to purchase a firearm elsewhere.