The Italian village that makes the world’s guns

Apr 13, 2018 906

Tucked away in a picturesque valley in the Italian Alps is the birthplace of most of Europe’s small firearms — and Al Pacino’s gun in “Scarface.” Surrounded by greenery and — key to its main industry — iron mines, Gardone Val Trompia, with around 10,000 inhabitants, is the Italian, European and world capital of firearms, producing 70 percent of the small arms (used for sport and hunting) used in the EU and 40 percent of those used worldwide.

In 2016, the valley’s gunmakers sent 395,000 firearms to the United States alone. At the center of it all is the Beretta factory. The company got its start in Gardone Val Trompia in 1526 and still maintains its headquarters there. But around the valley are 139 more gun manufacturers, whose exports generate €7 billion a year. A full 90 percent of the guns made there are destined for export, of which 45 percent head for the United States and 35 percent are bound for the EU.

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