Guns and Gear
An armed statue in front of the Colorado State House in Denver. Niels Knudsen/Getty Images. An armed statue in front of the Colorado State House in Denver. Niels Knudsen/Getty Images.  

Manufacturer threatens to leave Colorado if hi-cap magazine bill becomes law

Greg Campbell
Contributor

“Our relationship with our customers across the country would be severely damaged if this bill passes and we stay,” founder and CEO Richard Fitzgerald said in a press release. “We’ve already heard word of potential boycotts if that happens. [Legislators] really need to understand that our customer base is as passionate about freedoms as we are, and staying here if this bill passes would cripple the company. Make no doubt about it. We have no choice, and would be forced to leave in order to save the business.”

The company has also taken the message to print, buying a full-page ad in Sunday’s Denver Post, where it outlined what is at stake. Magpul directly employs 200 people and supports another 400 jobs in its supply chain. The company estimates that it contributes $85 million to Colorado’s economy.

Fitzpatrick, a former U.S. Marine, ran the company out of his basement when he founded it 10 years ago. Its customers include American and allied militaries, law enforcement agencies, sporting goods stores and private citizens.

Representatives from Magpul did not return messages Monday.

If social media comments are any indication, Magpul is winning where it counts with its customers — on the PR front. Comments are overwhelmingly in support of the decision, with many people suggesting places to relocate. There’s even a Facebook page called “Utah wants Magpul.”

Brandon Marshall, a program manager with the Wyoming Business Council said news that such a big company is looking to relocate has economic development managers in neighboring states salivating at the opportunity.

“I’m sure every state in the union has contacted them,” he said. As a business friendly state with a special affinity for gun rights, Wyoming “would be crazy not to be having those conversations,” he said.

Magpul’s threat to pull up stakes is a relatively new wrinkle in the gun debate here, first becoming public last week when the judiciary committee took testimony on the bill banning high-capacity magazines.

Democrats hold a slimmer majority in the Senate than in the House; Republican need only three Democratic defections to kill it.

But Republican Sen. Greg Brophy thinks that even the threat of losing jobs won’t be enough to sway Democrats.

“You would think it would be a really important component in the debate,” he said, “but these Democrats are extreme and I anticipate that they will line up and vote to run this business out of the state of Colorado.”

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