Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.
Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Senator Joe Manchin’s (D-WV) war with the gun lobby continues to intensify, as a major firearms manufacturer has declared that it will not do business in West Virginia due to Manchin’s support for expanding gun sale background checks.

Barretta USA, the American subsidiary of one of the world’s oldest and most successful gun makers, announced Friday that it would not expand its operations into the Mountain State, despite West Virginia lawmakers’ considerable lobbying to lure the company to their state. In a letter to the Hardy County Rural Development Authority, Beretta’s general counsel Jeffrey Reh explicitly singled out Manchin and his failed attempt to expand background checks to cover all commercial gun sales as a reason for the Maryland-based company to avoid West Virginia.

“[E]specially due to Senator Manchin’s recent legislative choices we have decided not to consider your State for our future plans of expansion,” Reh 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.”

“The fact that [Manchin] had portrayed himself as a traditional pro-Second Amendment politician before and appeared to switch so quickly…is what caused me to second guess the credibility of his convictions,” Reh added.

Reh also expressed disappointment that Manchin had partnered with Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) on the bill, calling Schumer “one of the most anti-gun senators in the history of the country.”

Manchin ripped Reh’s decision in a statement released Friday.

“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,” Manchin said. “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.”

It certainly seems as though Beretta may have scored a winning point in this political fight. Manchin is no stranger to political battles with the gun lobby — despite holding an “A” rating from the National Rifle Association, he has been engaged in a prolonged ad war against the group since his background check push — but he may find a fight with Beretta much more difficult to win.

For all of the headlines that it wins, the NRA’s bark is certainly worse than its bite; the NRA spent $11,787,523 in the 2012 elections, and saw only 0.81 percent of that money result in its desired electoral outcome. Additionally, as Manchin noted in his statement, the vast majority of West Virginians (and Americans in general) side with reformers on the background check issue. In other words, there is little reason for Manchin to fear backlash from the NRA.

But in a slow economy, the headline that Manchin’s background check push cost West Virginia thousands of jobs could have far more potency. While Manchin himself doesn’t face re-election for five more years, other West Virginia gun reformers could be dragged down by the charge. And if other gun manufacturers follow Beretta’s lead and refuse to do business in states that are represented by reform advocates, then they could create a powerful motivation for politicians in close races to back away from gun reform plans.

Photo: Third Way via Flickr.com

  • Dominick Vila

    Wow, some gun manufacturers will not do business in West Virginia because one of its Senators supports expansion of background checks to include gun sales via the Internet and at gun shows to limit the ability of criminals and the mentally ill to buy lethal weapons!in W

    • sigrid28

      Just when IRRESPONSIBLE gun ownership is getting such a bad rap in the Trayvon Martin case, the gun lobby pulls this one out of its hat. Notice I did not say the George Zimmerman trial.

      • Dominick Vila

        The prosecution in the Trayvon Martin case is doing a lousy job. Some of the state witnesses act more as defense witnesses than those that should be presented by the prosecutor. The worst part is the emphasis on the “wounds” inflicted on poor innocent George who, according to the latest excuse, was just going the same way as Trayvon on that dark and rainy night.
        I could not believe what Mr. Good’s testimony was not challenges after several witnesses testified about the problems they had distinguishing the people involved in the fight that ended in the death of a young teenager armed with a cup of iced tea and a bag of Skittles. Mr. Good had no problem identifying them, the color of their clothing, and said that Trayvon was on top of George, after Ms. Lauer said that the man that fired the shot was the one on top and got up immediately after killing Trayvon. When is the prosecution going to provide physical evidence, such as bruised knuckles, blood in the fingernails, and all the other evidence that is usually provided in cases like this?
        This trial has been a sham. Hopefully, someone will have the presence of mind of acting the way prosecutors are expected to behave.
        Sadly, this is just one of many examples of the sentiments and prejudices that divide us.

        • sigrid28

          Remember the great reluctance there was when it came to arresting Zimmerman in the first place–the demonstrations and the parents pleading that they simply wanted the case to come before a judge and jury. I notice that now that the trial is being followed on all networks all day, Fox News has exclusive interviews with Zimmerman’s attorneys. Here is the first sign, to me, that the chance that Zimmerman will walk away is on rather shaky ground.

          Second, the video footage of Zimmerman talking to police after Trayvon’s murder opens up holes in his testimony you could drive a truck through–which may be more evident in the courtroom where the jurors sit than it is as we watch news coverage of the trial in our living rooms.

          Third, there are far fewer admirers of neighborhood vigilantes in the United States–and by extension Florida, I would guess–than there are parents. The jurors are all parents, in fact, all women–except for alternates. Mothers have a soft spot for the cry baby in their brood, represented in this scenario by George Zimmerman, though we all want to toughen him (or her) up a little. However, we moms have a consuming, almost violent love for our firstborn, no matter how big a screw-up he or she might turn out to be. Equally vehement is a mother’s powerful memory of the protectiveness she felt toward this one being in the world who depended on her when he or she was entirely helpless. There is no greater pain for any parent, I would imagine, than remembering being able to help one’s child in such a powerful way, and then being unable to do anything whatsoever on his or her behalf. How helpless the limp body of Trayvon Martin looks to me, with his hands under his body, as if tucked casually into his pockets. These hands will show no means of beating crybaby George to within an inch of his life.

          • lessthantolerant

            Until you have spent time in Florida and seen how out of control the parasites and animals are you will never understand why they undercurrent of law abiding citizens back Zimmerman.
            Human are afraid to venture out at night in some parts of Florida where the animals roam like packs on the plains of Africa.

          • sigrid28

            Your plans to freelance for the Florida tourist board just went up in smoke.

          • Russell Byrd

            It would make an interesting, if rather odd, exhibit in a circus side show.

          • lessthantolerant

            Dang!

      • PissedoffinAZ

        Sigrid, I did notice, and yes, it seems at least on some networks, Trayvon Martin IS the one on trial. My favorite idiotic comment so far is, he was “armed” with a bottle of tea that he could have broken and attacked Zimmerman with. If, of course, he really went out to get Skittles and a lethal weapon to attack some guy who might be waiting for him, and more importantly, if Arizona Tea didn’t come in a CAN!

        • sigrid28

          What an idiotic comment that is, as if any teenager would rather fight with his snacks than eat them!

          Another issue emerged in testimony today. George’s complaints about not being able to see the street numbers on townhouses and THEREFORE having to leave his truck to find them was completely demolished. Street numbers are clearly displayed on both sides of all the townhouses in the complex–it is a unifying element of the semi-gated community. So he really had no excuse to get out of that truck, except to keep following one of these guys who “always get away.”

          Also in court today: No Trayvon Martin print on the gun.

          Also in court today: During his interview with Sean Hannnity George said he did not know about the stand your ground law in Florida. But college records show he had over one hundred credits toward a law enforcement degree, and took a course devoted entirely to defense, I think it was. His attorneys are trying every trick in the book to exclude the college records from evidence, while the prosecutor says it’s key information to prove that George is a wannabe cop who profiled Trayvon Martin and killed him in cold blood. To be decided tomorrow morning.

      • lessthantolerant

        Has Trayvon begun feeding the grass above his casket yet? It is always a good thing when parasites become fertilizer.

        • sigrid28

          Maybe you can book a gig on HGTV programming for racist lawn enthusiasts. Or you could take up mortuary science for racists who believe in segregation even in the afterlife. You have everything it takes.

          • lessthantolerant

            Both great ideas, maybe I can get a liberal TV producer put together a script for a Reality TV show. Want to be the first butt boy I have on?

    • labrown69

      You’re damn right we do. To hell with this expansion of fascist government. Restrictions on firearms goes hand in hand nicely with unconstitutional surveillance. The American left is a shadow of it’s former self.

      • PissedoffinAZ

        You wouldn’t know a fascist government with a scorecard. Oh, wait, you are using FOX and Friends scorecard to tell you that American government is one.

        • labrown69

          “Fox and Friends”, “Tea Baggers” “Bush” Bush, bush, Polly wanna cracker? Rrrrrraaaaaaaaaaaa! I hope you enjoyed being spied on for the 4th of July asshole.

          • PissedoffinAZ

            I think the Polly wanna cracker is your side. More talking points than a pin factory.

          • labrown69

            Sounds like you have some experience in pin factories. Why the hell did you move to AZ anyhow if you are such a commie? Ya like dry heat?

          • PissedoffinAZ

            No, I loved my parents and wanted to be close to them and help them in their declining years. Sorry you asked? I didn’t think so.

  • One down, next Simth & Wesson. I don’t care how they close, just close.

    • labrown69

      Oh, it’s not “down”, the state of West Virginia is. Berettas will continue being made in some other state more friendly to our civil rights and I and other Americans will increase our support of the NRA.

      • awakenaustin

        As usual you either failed to read the article or to understand it. Beretta now manufactures in Maryland. Maryland has more restrictive gun laws than W.V., which makes it a less “friendly” to our civil rights place than W.V.. This means, for the mentally challenged among us, that this was no more or less than a political gesture by Beretta. If you believe Beretta gives a crap about your civil rights beyond their impact on its bottom line then you are, in fact, the fool you so often portray yourself to be on in this forum.

        • labrown69

          It’s a pity anyone has to even waste their time skimming garbage like this when our rights are constantly under attack by ideologues who feel they have a right to decide how I should be allowed to defend my family.

          • PissedoffinAZ

            Or accidentally kill them, or help them commit suicide. Of course, nobody has told you anything, you are just following the whining of your equally ill-informed “leaders”.

        • lessthantolerant

          Beretta is in negotiation now with several states to move its Maryland facilities.

    • lessthantolerant

      Silly fool, these guy makers and providers are moving to states like south Carolina and Texas where freedom from parasites and liberals still exist.
      I revel in the days when news accounts show the feral feeding on the liberals in these no gun zones and big cities.

      • Mark Forsyth

        Why don’t you crawl into a majorly big cannon and blow your self to kingdom come.Or you could come to see me and I’ll be glad to relieve you of your miserable life with my double barrel 12 guage.

        • lessthantolerant

          Odd, threatening my life because gun makers are moving out of liberal hell holes.

          • Mark Forsyth

            What is odd,is that you can twist a suggestion into a threat.I just wanted to tighten you up to the fact that some of us who are more flexible in our thinking than you,are not at all helpless and we are quite capable of taking care of business when we need to.This American has never run and doesn’t plan on starting.Though I own firearms and am proficient in their use,I have never required them to stand my ground.There are no hell holes around here but I’m sure that we could accommodate you.Bring your feral pigs and hogs with you and we will stick you in one.We like ham and sausage too!

          • lessthantolerant

            Silly response and quite disjointed to the conversation.

          • Mark Forsyth

            What is disjointed are your thought processes and your brain.We are used to seeing that on this page as it is typical evidence of knuckle dragging,trolling idiocy.You have jumped into heavy conversation and are trying to tread water when you can’t even dog paddle much less swim.
            lessthantolerant-indeed,you probably can’t even stand yourself.

          • lessthantolerant

            poor offended liberal, cry me a river.

          • Mark Forsyth

            Is that all you’ve got? What a miserable,pathetic,little computer dweeb you are.Offended? My but you are conceited and you are in over your head.I won’t have any more tolerance for your stupidity and ignorance then you have for liberals.Get your Mommy to wipe your shitty ass and send you back to school.

          • lessthantolerant

            see you are too easily excited. now grow up and approach the subject objectively.

          • Mark Forsyth

            I’m not interested enough to get excited and in fact am rather bored with this. I refuse to engage you and your fellow trolls in debate because of your incessant bait and switch mode of arguing your point which is something none of you ever get around to.
            So in an effort to end said boredom,I am done here.Have a happy day.

  • disqus_ivSI3ByGmh

    “But in a slow economy, the headline that Manchin’s background check push
    cost West Virginia thousands of jobs could have far more potency.” Really? Maybe a couple dozen skilled machinists, a couple dozen woodworkers, and a couple dozen unskilled laborers at most will not be hired as a result of Baretta NOT moving to West Virginia.

    • sigrid28

      Sanity at last!

  • LaRae Bailey

    what so many of you do not seem to know is that firearms purchased over the internet and at gun shows if sold by a licensed dealer must fill out the paperwork and do the already lawfull back ground check… only private individual sales get around this.. the simple change would be to force all gun dealers at gun shows to be licensed ffl dealers.. problem solved… no amount of laws will ever stop a private seller from selling a firearm to someone he chooses to sell to not unlike selling a used car without using a car dealership.

  • Mark Forsyth

    In other words,We won’t do business in your state because we can’t buy enough of your politicians.

    • Russell Byrd

      The amazing thing is, West Virginian politicians are some of the easiest to buy in the country. Beretta must be really cheap. 🙂

  • omgamike

    As a West Virginian, I can comfortably tell Beretta to go f*** themselves. We do not need their business and will not miss it. As the polls have stated, the vast majority of West Virginians support expanded background checks for weapons sales. We are all for responsible gun ownership. And picking a fight with Joe Manchin will not get them anywhere, as he is “mobbed up”.

    • lessthantolerant

      man do you sound like a kool aide drinking union thug.

  • tdm3624

    I would think West Virginia would be a much more friendly place to have a Berretta factory than Maryland.

  • Russell Byrd

    Seems to be a good chance that Beretta had already decided, for what ever reason, to not move to West Virginia. Maybe, the amount of tax payer money that the state could offer in bribes, oops, I mean incentives, was insufficient to entice Beretta to move. Then, this announcement is just taking advantage of the excuse this situation provides to pander to their “gun of the month club” faithful. And of course, this announcement is a warning to any other politician that has enough spine to stand up to the industry.