Violence Policy Center (VPC) Response to National Rifle Association Charges That VPC Misrepresented Beretta as a Foreign Gunmaker 

For Release:  Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Washington, DC–On Monday, July 25, the Violence Policy Center issued a new report, A Foreign Affair: Contracting for U.S. Military and Law Enforcement Firearms, revealing that, contrary to Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist’s claim that firearms litigation could result in U.S. armed forces having to depend on “foreign manufacturers” for their sidearms, the “American” company Senator Frist cited as being at risk, Beretta, is, in fact, a foreign company. That same day, the National Rifle Association issued a statement claiming that the VPC statement was false and that Beretta USA, located in Accokeek, Maryland, is not Italian. In response, VPC Legislative Director Kristen Rand today released the following statement:

“The NRA will apparently do anything, say anything to grant the gun industry, already exempt from federal health and safety regulation, immunity from civil liability. NRA lobbyist Chris Cox claims that Beretta USA is not Italian. Let’s ask Beretta USA on their web site, www.berettausa.com. On the upper right hand side corner click on `About Beretta’ (http://www.berettausa.com/about.htm). You’ll be greeted by a photo of the company’s current `leadership,’ Franco, Ugo, and Pietro Beretta. The web page explains: `In the early 1900s Pietro (1870-1957) took the Company reins, introducing modernized manufacturing methods, many patents for mechanisms and simplified construction, consequently establishing Beretta, the first Italian firearms maker, as one of the most modern firearms production facilities in the world. The modernization process was continued by the sons Giuseppe (1906-1993) and Carlo (1908-1984), securing the Company’s multinational character with commercial and production activity in numerous European countries and the United States. These efforts created successful ventures in the military, law enforcement and private sectors.’

From the front page of the Beretta USA web site, you can also go to its `Media Center’ button on the left hand side and click on `Press Releases’ (http://www.berettausa.com/media/media_press_releases.htm). Then click on the May 13, 2005 press release titled `Military–Beretta Awarded Contract for 18,744 M9 Pistols to US Army 05/13/2005.’ The press release states, `Beretta is the oldest industrial dynasty in the world tracing its roots though 16 generations of continuous family ownership back to 1526.’

Or visit Beretta’s international web site at http://www.beretta.com/, go to the `International’ button and click on `Company’ (http://www.beretta.com/index.aspx?m=53&did=5). The web site states, `The company is part of the Beretta Holding Group. Controlled by the BERETTA family….Beretta supplies firearms to the Armed Forces and Police Forces of Italy and numerous other countries since many years. The greatest success story regarding pistols is the fact that the American Armed Forces and State Police Forces have adopted Beretta 92 series pistols. President, Ugo Gussalli Beretta and his sons, Pietro and Franco, run the business.’

Finally, one could look at the 2005 Beretta catalog, which on the back cover lists Accokeek, Maryland, as the address for Beretta (http://www.vpc.org/graphics/berettabackcover.jpg). The catalog opens on the second page to a picture of a villa, stating, `Beretta was born in 1526, during the height of the Italian Renaissance….[W]e have been making history for the last half-millennium by serving our customers with enthusiasm and integrity, and by being innovative without losing sight of our Italian heritage. Since its inception, our company has been owned and operated by the Beretta family….’ (http://www.vpc.org/graphics/berettaTOC.jpg)

Under the NRA’s logic, BMW, because it has U.S. manufacturing facilities, is not a German company, but a U.S. Company. Same for Honda, Hyundai, and Toyota.

There’s an adage about lies, damn lies, and statistics. Now we can add an even lower standard: NRA lies.”

 

 

 

 

 

The Violence Policy Center is a national educational organization working to stop gun death and injury. Follow the VPC on TwitterFacebook, and YouTube.

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