A leading manufacturer of firearms accessories has followed through on its vow to relocate from Colorado after the state passed some of the most restrictive gun control laws in the nation.
Magpul Industries will be moving its business to Texas and Wyoming, which will cost the state over $85 million in lost revenue as well as the loss of up to 400 jobs.
Moving operations to states that support our culture of individual liberties and personal responsibility is important,” said Magpul CEO Richard Fitzpatrick, who started the privately held company in 1999 from the basement of his home in Longmont, Colo. “This relocation will also improve business operations and logistics as we utilize the strengths of Texas and Wyoming in our expansion.”
Following the announcement, governors from both Wyoming and Texas issued statements welcoming the company to their states.
“Bringing an innovative and growing manufacturing operating to Wyoming is a significant step for the state,” Wyoming Governor Matthew Mead said. “We offer Magpul an attractive tax environment, stable and reasonable regulations, not to mention a firm commitment to uphold the Second Amendment.”
Texas Governor Rick Perry, who has made serious attempts to woo gun companies in states with laws hostile to their product to his state, offered similar sentiments.
Perry said he was “proud that Magpul is the latest employer to join the ranks of companies that call Texas home.”
Last February Perry sent an open letter to more than two dozen gun companies encouraging them to move to Texas, which is as strong supporter of the Second Amendment.
“As you consider your options for responding to unwarranted government intrusion into your business, you may choose to consider relocating your manufacturing operations to a state that is more business-friendly,” Perry said in the letter. “There is no other state that fits the definition of business-friendly like Texas.”
Following Barack Obama’s lead on the gun control issue, Democrats in the Colorado house passed a series of gun control bills that the Obama administration has said would help them pass similar measures in other states.
“He (Biden) said it would send a strong message to the rest of the country that a western state had passed gun-control bills,” Tony Exhum, a Democratic lawmaker from Colorado Springs, told the Denver Post.
Magpul is still planning to maintain a small presence in the state in order to position itself to continue fighting the gun control bills passed by Democrats last year. Magpul was active in lobbying against the bill, warning it would be forced to leave the state if the bills, particularly the magazine ban, went into effect.
“If we’re able to stay in Colorado and manufacture a product, but law-abiding citizens of the state were unable to purchase the product, customers around the state and the nation would boycott us for remaining here,” said Doug Smith, chief operating officer for Magpul Industries. “Staying here would hurt our business.”
Democratic Rep. Daniel Kagan said Magpul just doesn’t understand what the law says.
“Manufacturers will be able to still sell and transfer these high-capacity magazines to individuals in other states, the U.S. military and law enforcement,” Kagan told the Post. “We want [Magpul] to stay here in Colorado. It would be sad to see them leave.”
When it was evident that passage of the bills was certain, the company still did not quietly acquiesce, announcing a project based on the Berlin Airlift, which flew in supplies to West Berlin after the Soviets prevented the city from getting needed supplies in the days following World War II.
“Similar to the Berlin Airlift, the Boulder Airlift will bring much needed supplies to freedom-loving residents trapped inside occupied territory,” the letter says. “While we plan to initially use FedEx or UPS instead of aerial delivery, we figure that $5 flat rate shipping will make up for any loss of “style points.”
It goes on to explain the company is permitting Colorado residents created a special account to purchase magazines prior to the ban.
“If the pending state legislation limiting sales and transfers of standard capacity magazines does pass, we will not be the only ones affected; Colorado residents’ right to purchase and transfer standard capacity magazines will be infringed in the near future,” the newsletter says. “With that in mind, we are beginning a program to help as many residents of our home state as we can, while we still can. To meet this need, we have set up a process for CO residents to purchase limited quantities of magazines from our website.”
At the time the company was selling Colorado residents high capacity magazines at bargain basement prices. The price for a 30 round magazine for an AR-15 is $12.95 with other magazines for MAK-90 7.62 rounds selling for $19.95. At stores many of the same magazines were currently being sold for upwards of $50.
Dudley Brown, president of Rocky Mountain Gun Owners and the executive director of the National Association of Gun Rights, said Democrats will be engaging in political suicide if they continue with their plans to ban products produced by Magpul and strip away the rights of law-abiding gun owners.
“Gun owners are coming out of the woodwork right now to fight the battle,” Brown said. “What they are doing to us now in the legislature, we get to do to them in the next election, and we’re not going to play nice, either. We know how to play hardball and we’re really going to play hardball this year.”
Weld County Sheriff John Cooke said he applauds Magpul’s efforts to help the state’s residents.
“I think their project is great. They recognize the unfair limitations that legislatures are putting on Colorado residents when none of the other surrounding states have a magazine ban. Magpul being a Colorado company, at least for now, is performing a great service. This is a great thing for the people of Colorado.”
Cooke said the magazine ban makes no sense and notes that his department has never had a situation that involved criminals using high capacity magazines.
Cooke noted at the time that the company has always been known for fair prices and that he supported the program. “They’ve always been really reasonable in the prices they charge. This program helped the law-abiding citizens of Colorado purchase a legal product that can help them with self-defense in the last few days before the Democrats decided to prohibit their sale.”