Doug Bigelow, of Hagerstown, Md., expresses his support for the right to bear arms on Friday, March 1, 2013 in Annapolis, where a gun-control measure that would ban assault weapons had a hearing. As a gun-control measure aims to ban assault weapons in Maryland, neighboring states are trying to woo away a Beretta factory, whose employees would be unable to buy some of its products. Credit: AP
One of the biggest firearms manufacturers in the U.S. announced it may leave Maryland over a proposed gun control bill currently being considered by lawmakers.
Testifying before the Maryland House Judiciary Committee on Friday, Beretta, USA general counsel Jeffrey Reh argued Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley's "Firearm Safety Act of 2013" is "tantamount to a legislative effort to ban certain books."
“That might seem like a provocative statement but the parallels are apt,” he added, according to testimony reviewed by the Washington Free Beacon.
He went on: "The possession and use of firearms and printed materials are both protected by the Constitution. Both rights come from the only legislation in U.S. history that was voted on and approved directly by the citizens of our country."
“One might suggest that books do not kill and that the current legislation is sought for beneficial reasons,” Reh explained. "In fact, the misuse of books—say, the Bible or the Koran—have led to tragedy, and efforts to ban certain books—for example, Huckleberry Finn—have also come from allegedly ‘beneficial’ intent."
The gun control bill in question passed the Maryland Senate on Thursday night. It was passed along to the House of Delegates on Friday.
According to reports, O'Malley's bill would ban semi-automatic rifles (so-called "assault rifles"), high-capacity magazines and any guns with two or more "military-like" features. The Free Beacon reports that Beretta is preparing to manufacture a new civilian version of a rifle that would be considered illegal under the gun control legislation.
Reh called the bill "misguided" and argued that any person "bent on destruction will find a way to do so."
"The absence of a folding stock on a rifle or the need to carry an additional magazine will not stop such a person," he said.
Meanwhile, O'Malley claims his bill is "supported by overwhelming numbers of Marylanders."
Watch Reh discuss the issue with NRA News' Cam Edwards: