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Senator wants to offer incentives to attract gunmakers to Utah

Published: Monday, May 20 2013 4:23 p.m. MDT

Sen. Howard Stephenson, R-Draper, wants to offer gun manufacturers incentives that could include tax breaks to relocate in Utah.

Brian Nicholson, Deseret News archives

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SALT LAKE CITY — Sen. Howard Stephenson, R-Draper, wants to offer gun manufacturers incentives that could include tax breaks to relocate in Utah.

Stephenson said in blog post he has opened a bill file in reaction to a statement by Beretta USA that the company is looking at relocating its Maryland operations after that state passed a ban on assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines.

"My initial proposal will be to reduce obstacles and offer incentives to gun manufacturers located in the Beehive State," Stephenson said in the post on "The Senate Site." He said that might include eliminating sales tax on the equipment used to make guns.

According to a Guns.com report, Beretta is already being courted by several states, including Virginia, West Virginia and Texas, to relocate the Maryland manufacturing operation that includes production of the M9 pistol for the U.S. military.

Stephenson, head of the Utah Taxpayers Association, said none of the states hoping to attract Beretta have "as good an economic climate as Utah." He said Beretta currently employs more than 400 people and paid more than $31 million in taxes in Maryland.

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