Perry to tour gun facility near Washington

Peter Hamby

CNN Political Reporter

WASHINGTON (CNN) — With guns back in the national spotlight after a mass shooting at Washington’s Navy Yard, Texas Gov. Rick Perry will tour Maryland’s largest gun manufacturer on Wednesday as part of his ongoing effort to lure businesses to his home state.

A Perry aide told CNN that the Republican governor will tour the Beretta USA facility in Accokeek, Maryland, just over the Potomac River from Washington, D.C.

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Perry, who has embarked on a national effort to poach out-of-state companies by touting Texas’ business-friendly tax climate, will also meet later in the day with Maryland business leaders at a steakhouse in Bethesda, the aide said.

Beretta USA executives flirted with leaving Maryland earlier this year after Gov. Martin O’Malley began pushing a successful assault weapons ban in the state, and Perry, a fierce opponent of gun control, courted the company at the time.

But Beretta ultimately decided to keep its facility in Prince George’s County, where it has been manufacturing military and police firearms for more than three decades. Maryland’s gun law does not bar the company from manufacturing guns in the state.

As part of his brazen economic development effort, Perry has run an avalanche of pro-Texas ads in a number of states led by Democratic governors, including California, Missouri and New York.

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In Maryland, Perry is currently running radio and television ads accusing O’Malley of stifling job growth with taxes.

Lis Smith, a political adviser to O’Malley, called Perry’s Maryland hunting expedition a “fool’s errand.”

“While Texas leads the nation in the percentage of workers making minimum wage or less and citizens without health insurance, Maryland ranks first in schools, median income, and innovation and entrepreneurship,” Smith said in an email. “Hopefully Gov. Perry takes some notes on the better choices that Gov. O’Malley has made, and the better results that he’s been able to achieve.”

Both Perry and O’Malley are considering 2016 presidential bids.