National Public Radio, unlike many commercial news organizations, makes an effort to present the depth of the subjects covered and to give a fair look at all interested parties. Readers committed to a belief in “left-wing media” may doubt this, and NPR does show a good deal of sympathy with the perspective of the college-educated liberal, but the effort to have broad perspective and balance is there.
One illustration of this comes in discussions about guns in America. Consider the episode of Talk of the Nation in the days after the Tucson shooting. The host, Neal Conan, interviewed Dr. Harold Bursztajn, co-founded the program in psychiatry and the law at Massachusetts Mental Health Center, who advocated on the basis of medicine that more gun control is necessary, then had on novelist and film critic, Stephen Hunter, to present a solid advocacy of gun rights.
Monday’s All Things Considered continued this tradition with a segment on the move of the Beretta factory from Maryland to Gallatin, Tennessee, titled, “Seeking A Warmer Welcome, Gun Factory Moves Down South.” The reason given for this move is the gun laws imposed on Maryland in the days following the Newtown outrage.
The state’s gun laws had been bad enough, but Gov. O’Malley signed a bill imposing a ten-round magazine limit, bans on many guns, and fingerprinting for handgun buyers. Perhaps he was thinking of his chances in the upcoming presidential election, and while such calculations didn’t pay out, the new controls were enough to convince Beretta to seek more favorable grounds.
The company itself has been in business for almost 500 years, so I have to imagine they are experienced in dealing with the fickleness of politicians. Beretta USA is expected to hire some 300 workers, mostly locally. Perhaps those are jobs that Maryland feels the state doesn’t need, and that apparent attitude goes back as long as the gun maker had a plant near Washington, D.C. No Maryland governor visited the facility since its beginning in the 1970s, whereas Gov. Haslan of Tennessee attended the new factory’s opening ceremonies.
My first teaching position was in Gallatin, and I lived in the area for ten years. More than that, it was a colleague of mine there who got me into the gun community with his stories about Reconstruction-era Tennessee. It was from him that I learned about carry licenses, something I had never heard of before.
These anecdotes are to say that I have experienced the state’s enthusiastic support for gun rights. Advocates of gun control often want to claim that states like Tennessee have gun laws that endanger their residents, but Tennessee’s homicide rate over the last two decades has been consistently lower than Maryland’s, demonstrating once again that the claims of those desire more control rarely align with reality.
Anti-rights states shouldn’t be surprised at Beretta’s move. Magpul left Colorado, and other gun makers are contemplating leaving the Northeast. And it makes sense for a company to go where its products are welcome. But it’s a sad thing to watch the country deepening the divide among the states. It’s a good thing for gun owners and makers to be visible throughout the country. At the same time, if the Colts and Remingtons of this nation would like to move to Arkansas, they’d find a lot of happy customers.
The views and opinions expressed in this post are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the position of Guns.com.