ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.
But the group has done little beyond write letters, leaving open the question of whether its pleas will bring any new business to the state. The group has not enlisted the help of the state agency that would traditionally handle outreach to companies elsewhere.
Rep. Al Baldasaro, a Londonderry Republican, said that's because group members see it as an extension of Democratic Gov. Maggie Hassan, whom they have also not reached out to. And neither gun maker has written them back.
It's about jobs
Baldasaro rejected the notion that courting gun companies could be seen as a cynical attempt to capitalize on the gun debate.
"This is about bringing jobs to New Hampshire," he said Friday. "It has nothing to do with what happened in Connecticut or anywhere else."
His group noted that New Hampshire is already home to 80 firearm component manufacturers including Sig Sauer Inc., Sturm, Ruger & Co. Inc., Heckler & Koch USA, and its letters cited laws preventing restrictions on firearms manufacturing.
Such restrictions drew the ire of a Beretta executive at a recent hearing in Maryland, where an assault weapons ban has been proposed. The bill spurns Beretta's long-standing commitment to the state, Jeff Reh, a member of the company's board of directors, told lawmakers.
Those types of complaints from firearms companies leave lawmakers in their home states pulled between responding to the hunger for more restrictive gun laws and wanting to keep their constituents employed.
Maryland's Senate president pointed to work lawmakers have done this year to try to help Beretta while also keeping important provisions of the bill intact.
"We've allowed them to manufacture," said Thomas V. Mike Miller, who represents the district in which the Accokeek factory is located. "We've allowed them to sell, and we've cut back on their paperwork."
Much more than that awaits Beretta and its employees in New Hampshire, the Republicans there promised. The state does not have an income tax or sales tax, and is known for gun advocacy.
"It would be a win-win for any gun company to move here. We're the 'live free or die' state," Baldasaro said, citing New Hampshire's motto.
Meanwhile, Connecticut lawmakers have agreed on a bipartisan measure that would ban sales of semiautomatic rifles like the one used in the Newtown school massacre and require background checks on buyers in all firearms transactions.
"In Connecticut, we broke the mold," Senate President Pro Tem Donald Williams, said Monday in Hartford, referring to the measure's cross-party support. "That is a message that should resound in 49 other states and in Washington."
Williams, a Democrat, said the measure is "the strongest in the country and the most comprehensive."
It would bar sales of ammunition magazines that hold more than 10 rounds and put about 100 more weapons on the banned roster. The accord, if enacted, would add Connecticut to a growing list of states passing new controls following the Dec. 14 Newtown massacre of six educators and 20 youngsters, including Emilie Parker, the daughter of Robbie and Alissa Parker, both of whom graduated from Ben Lomond High School in Ogden.
The proposed law also would require gun owners to get a certificate from the state to buy bullets. To obtain the document, a resident would have to submit to a criminal background check. The sales ban would start upon enactment of the measure, which may occur this week.
The Associated Press contributed to this article.
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