CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Sen. Joe Manchin said he had nothing to do with firearms maker Beretta USA choosing not to expand to West Virginia.
Beretta on Friday announced in a news release that Manchin’s role in the gun-control debate prompted the company to decline offers from groups in West Virginia that it relocate to the state.
Manchin, however, responded to the announcement with his own statement calling the company’s comments “a disingenuous excuse.”
“It’s shameful that Beretta, who seems to have no intention of moving from one of the most gun restrictive states in the country, is deceiving the great people of West Virginia in attempting to score a political point,” replied Manchin in the release. “While I am a proud owner of two Beretta shotguns, I’m truly disappointed in this cheap political shot their management has taken.”
In the release from the firearms maker, Jeffrey Reh, general counsel and vice-general manager, cited comments from Manchin targeting high-capacity ammunition magazines.
The company further pointed out concerns with a provision in the measure Manchin has co-sponsored with Sen. Patrick Toomey (R-Pa.) to expand gun buyer background checks to gun shows and Internet sales.
“That really caused us some consternation and concern,” Reh said in the company’s release. “We’ve decided not to consider West Virginia as a site for future expansion.”
But Manchin responded by stating that his measures preserve 2nd Amendment rights.
“I believe that my legislation, which an independent poll just showed that 75 percent of West Virginians agree with, is a reasonable approach that in no way infringes on our right to bear arms.”
Beretta currently host operations in Maryland, a state that recently enacted a strict gun-control law.