On Thursday Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley signed one of the nation’s toughest gun bills into law, similar to those passed in New York, Colorado, and Connecticut.
The state’s gun makers, such as Beretta USA, have been uneasy since Maryland’s state Senate passed the bill in early April. The new law bans over 40 “assault weapons” including the popular AR-15, prohibits the sale of magazines that carry more than 10 rounds, and will require handgun buyers to submit to fingerprint licensing. People who have been involuntarily committed to a mental health facility will also be prohibited from owning firearms. Governor O’Malley and supporters of the bill believe that the law will help curb gun violence.
“States with similar licensing provisions have substantially lower gun death rates than states that do not, so if we want better results we have to make better choices, and this legislation is part of that series of the better choices that we are making,” O’Malley said.
According to the Associated Press, pro-Second Amendment groups are already moving to challenge the law, with the National Rifle Association (NRA) leading the charge.
“The National Rifle Association’s position and concerns will be made very clear when we file our lawsuit,” wrote NRA spokesperson Jacqueline Otto.
Opponents of the law are organizing a petition to stop the law from taking place on October 1. If the petition is successful, a hold could be initiated on the law until it goes before voters in 2014.
Beretta, which has their primary North American facilities in Accokeek, called the legislation an “insult.”
“The resulting law that passed is not acceptable, even with the improvements we were able to obtain,” the company announced in a press release. “In short, the law that finally passed went from being atrocious to simply being bad.”
While the release makes no clear statements of a relocation, Beretta did say the company will “evaluate whether they want to remain in this State.” In an interview with guns.com last month Beretta General Manager and COO Jeff Cooper called it a “delicate decision.” Despite the new law, the company promised to uphold its commitments with the U.S. military as well as taking their employees into consideration for any future decisions.
Read more about Beretta and its future in Maryland here.