Colorado democrats from the governor on down are being publicly blamed for losing Magpul and its $80 million worth of business to more gun-friendly states.
For almost all of 2013 the firearms-based company famous for its PMAGS and aftermarket AR gear threatened to leave the state.
In the first few days of 2014, the threats became reality when the company announced a move to Texas and Wyoming from the state they have always called home. Now this painful blow to Colorado’s economy over a political issue is drawing its own criticism.
Republican state Sen. Greg Brophy, himself a hopeful candidate for governor against current Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, is one of the most vocal in drawing the correlation between Magpul leaving, taking millions with it, and the passage of new gun laws.
“Magpul was started in a basement in Longmont and had grown to over 200 employees. Several other Colorado businesses grew, as they became direct suppliers to the company,” said the Brophy camp in a press release. “Gov. Hickenlooper’s only action to keep Magpul in Colorado was a signing statement as he signed HB-1224 into law.
Brophy further said, “Gov. Hickenlooper could have stood for jobs and liberty in Colorado. Instead he chose to stand with Mayor Bloomberg.”
Former Republican Rep. Tom Tancredo, also a gubernatorial hopeful said in a separate statement, “This announcement is a stark reminder of the damage that this governor has done, and continues to do, to Colorado. Hickenlooper gladly signed anti-gun legislation, with full knowledge that his actions would alienate and demonize law-abiding citizens, and job-creating businesses such as Magpul.”
State Rep. Lori Saine, R-Firestone, who’s district included Magpul’s soon-to-be former home, released the following statement through the Colorado House GOP’s website
“The magazine ban did not garner one Republican vote in the House or Senate, and now as a result of this one-sided, Democrat sponsored law, more than 200 people will lose their jobs and their ability to provide for their families. Additionally, the move will cost the state of Colorado over $80 million dollars a year in revenue,” said Saine.
“I am saddened to see this completely partisan law, widely considered unenforceable by sheriffs across Colorado, cause Magpul to leave our state and take with it so many good jobs from this area,” she continued.
Magpul is being greeted by its new home states with open arms.
While Colorado seemed to give the company the cold shoulder, Magpul found itself eagerly being courted by other states with more flexible views on their products.
The company is now working with Randy Burns, the CEO of LEADS, the economic development organization for Cheyenne, Wyoming, to help secure up to $13 million in loans and state grants to help offset the cost of the move.
Further, in completing the Texas move, Magpul may be able to draw from both Gov. Rick Perry’s Texas Enterprise Fund (TEF) and the Texas Economic Development Corporation to help offset costs.
For his part, Perry’s office released its own press release with respect to Magpul’s announcement, stating that Perry has “reached out to more than 30 firearm manufacturers in states across the country that are considering restricting sales and manufacturing in the industry.”
A representative from the NRA, when asked for comment from Guns.com, weighed in on the issue. “The one narrative that is clear is that not only is it bad politics to be on the wrong side of the gun issue, but it’s a real downside from the physical standpoint. There are a lot of jobs in states that depend on firearms manufacturing and companies are increasingly aware that there are often better states to do business in that are more friendly to their products.”
Lawrence Keane, the Senior Vice President and General Counsel of the National Shooting Sports Foundation also commented on the matter.
“Gov. Hickenlooper has succeeded in both diminishing the state of Colorado’s economy and the Second Amendment, and we see this as a growing trend in companies choosing not to commit any more resources in states that do not choose to help them grow their business,” he told Guns.com.
Colorado Democrats now are left with explaining how the genie got out of the bottle.