Politics

Rick Perry wants Colorado gun magazine maker to move to Texas

Greg Campbell Contributor

Texas governor and former GOP presidential candidate Rick Perry is rolling out a Texas-sized red carpet for Magpul Industries, the Colorado gun-parts manufacturer that has vowed to find greener pastures if a bill banning high capacity ammunition magazines, like those that Magpul makes, becomes law.

In a letter to Magpul founder and CEO Richard Fitzpatrick, Perry touts Texas’s business climate, citing such things as “low taxes, a fair legal system, reasonable regulations, a well-trained and skilled workforce and unmatched transportation and communications infrastructures.”

“There is no other state that fits the definition of business-friendly like Texas,” Perry wrote.

Perry mentioned gun rights only briefly, in a business context.

“While I support the efforts of law enforcement to identify, apprehend, prosecute and punish criminals who use firearms in the commission of their crimes,” he wrote, “I do not believe that imposing additional requirements or restrictions on businesses is the correct approach.”

The letter was dated Feb. 7, days before debate began on the high-capacity magazine ban, indicating that Magpul had anticipated little resistance to it in Colorado’s Democratic-controlled legislature and may have been putting out feelers. If so, Texas would have gotten a jump on other states that only started wooing the company after its threat to leave Colorado became public.

Magpul, which employs 200 people and supports another 400 jobs in its supply chain, estimated that it would add $85 million to the Colorado economy in 2013.

Controversy over gun control legislation could turn into a blessing for the company, as states position themselves to compete for its business. Wyoming and Utah are also courting the company, as is South Carolina, where Republican Rep. Jeff Duncan has made a big push to lure arms manufacturers.

But so far Texas is the only state where the governor is known to have made a personal appeal.

In his letter, Perry noted a slate of financial incentives Texas offers companies, including cash grants, sales tax exemptions and refunds, employee training programs and low-interest loans.

The final deal-sweetener Perry mentioned was a lack of union influence in Texas.

“As you consider the best path for the future of your company, you might want to consider the savings in real dollars that would accrue to your bottom line were you to take advantage of the lower labor costs in Texas,” Perry wrote.

In a Facebook post on Tuesday, Magpul said it’s still weighing its options and focusing on defeating legislation in Colorado.

“It appears that someone has posted or sent out some sort of notice that we are moving to a specific location,” the company wrote. “We can assure you that no decision has been made about location, and that we are still fighting this battle. We are, however, assembling our requirements and looking at various areas that would be suitable for our new home, should it come to that. We appreciate all the offers, and we will begin talking to various entities about those shortly.”

The magazine bill, as well as several other controversial Democratic-sponsored bills, passed the state House on Monday and will be heard in the Senate. Democratic senators have their own gun control bills to introduce, including one that would hold gun manufacturers liable for any harm their products might cause.

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