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Citing senator, gun maker turns down WV offers

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CHARLESTON, WV (AP) — U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin's role in the gun control debate has prompted firearms maker Beretta USA to turn down offers from officials and groups in West Virginia that it relocate to the state, a company executive said Friday.

Jeffrey Reh, general counsel and vice-general manager, cited comments from the West Virginia Democrat targeting high-capacity ammunition magazines. The company also has concerns with a provision in the measure Manchin has co-sponsored with Sen. Patrick Toomey, a Pennsylvania Republican, to expand gun buyer background checks to gun shows and Internet sales.

Beretta believes Manchin has joined forces with Sen. Chuck Schumer, a New York Democrat and vocal gun control advocate, leading the company to question whether "West Virginia was a pro-gun as we thought," Reh said.

"That really caused us some consternation and concern," Reh said. "We've decided not to consider West Virginia as a site for future expansion."

The response follows dueling TV ads from Manchin and the National Rifle Association as the senator seeks additional support for the background check proposal, which failed to advance in an April vote. Spokesman Jonathan Kott said Manchin was aware of Beretta USA's position but did not immediately comment.

Then-House Speaker Rick Thompson, like Manchin a Democrat, was among those who wrote Beretta earlier this year after it said it would consider moving operations out of Maryland. That state was then considering, and has since enacted, a strict gun control law. Among other provisions, it limits ammunition magazines and bans the in-state sale of 45 types of assault weapons including models made by Beretta.

 

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