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Gunmaker Beretta Celebrates Opening

Posted at 7:26 AM, Apr 15, 2016

Governor Bill Haslam cut the ribbon at the unveiling ceremony for Italian gunmaker Beretta's new manufacturing and research facility Sumner County.

The company’s $45 million investment is expected to create 300 jobs; however, city officials and economists expect a much bigger impact than added jobs and new tax revenues that the plant will bring.

"Beretta is a well-respected company with an international reputation," said Paige Brown, Mayor of Gallatin.  "When they come here, everyone started asking about Gallatin.  It's really made us a player in the conversation for other companies that are looking to relocate."

City, state and Beretta officials spoke at Friday's event about their hopes for what facility will bring to the area, as well as, why it was a positive move for the company.  Company officials presented Gov. Haslam with the top shotgun made in the facility.

The $15 million state of the art manufacturing facility is 156,000 square feet.  Employees will produce eight models of firearms, including the company's M-9 9 mm pistol.  

PHOTOS: Beretta Unveils Gallatin Facility

Tennessee prevailed in luring the Italian gunmaker from Maryland after the company raised objections to a wide-ranging gun control measure enacted there in the aftermath of the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings that left 26 dead.

Beretta officials cited strong Second Amendment support in Tennessee in the decision to invest in the state.

"On behalf of the state of Tennessee, welcome," said Gov. Haslam,.  "We are honored to have you here.  We look forward a long and fruitful partnership, I’m confident will be reality."

Former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley last year chided Haslam for resorting to what he called "corporate welfare" to bring Beretta to Tennessee.

Beretta has operated in Italy since 1526. The family-owned company makes a variety of firearms, ranging from hunting shotguns to the U.S. Armed Forces M-9 pistol.

The news came as the Tennessee Department of Labor announced that they have near record numbers of jobs available to the those who are looking.

 "With the continued decline in the state's unemployment rate, workers have many opportunities available to them when looking for a job. In March, our Jobs4TN.gov website had over 175,000 job openings across the state’s 95 counties,” Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development Commissioner, Burns Phillips said. 

The Nashville metropolitan area led the state in job openings in March with 53,401 jobs posted to Jobs4TN.gov.

"If you are out of work this is really one of the best times in recent memory to be out there looking for a job," added Chris Cannon, who is the Director of Communication for the department.