Outdoor Channel will not film shows in Colorado if gun bills pass
While Colorado state senators argue their way through a marathon debate over a slate of gun-control bills, another company has vowed not to do business in Colorado if the legislation passes.
A producer for the Outdoor Channel, a California company that produces television shows about guns and hunting in Colorado, emailed Republican Sen. Steve King on Tuesday warning him that not only will he film the shows in a more gun-friendly state, but also that he would warn hunters to stay away.
“The message we will take to our viewers and listeners is that these proposed laws are so dangerous to hunters and any other person, be she a fisherman or a skier who brings a handgun into the state for self-defense, that we cannot recommend hunting, fishing or visiting Colorado,” wrote executive producer Michael Bane. “We reach millions of people, and, quite frankly, we have a credibility that Colorado government officials can no longer match.”
Outdoor Channel’s most popular show is “Gun Stories,” hosted by “Criminal Minds” actor Joe Mantegna. Although Bane said the network is “relatively small potatoes” by TV standards — he estimated it would contribute just under $1 million to the Colorado economy in 2013 — he says his industry connections have already cost Colorado plenty.
He cited a “major network producer” who, after having lunch with Bane, chose to set a reality TV show in Arizona rather than Colorado because of the pending legislation.
“That lunch cost Colorado over a million in economic impact,” Bane wrote.
He also warned of dire impacts to Colorado’s hunting industry if the bills should pass, noting that next month he will attend a meeting of outdoor and hunting programing producers in Texas.
“The Number One agenda item will be Colorado,” he wrote. “Already, hunting organizations and statewide hunting clubs around the country are pulling out of Colorado, and we expect this trend to accelerate rapidly.”
Bane was preaching to the choir, as King is one of the most vocal opponents of Democrats’ gun control bills. By midday Friday the Senate had given the OK to just one of seven bills expected to be heard, a bill that would prevent ownership of firearms by people who have committed domestic violence.
It’s far from the most controversial to be heard. Still to be debated are bills that would impose liability for damage caused by assault-style weapons on owners, sellers and manufacturers; a bill that would ban high capacity magazines; and a bill requiring universal background checks, among others.
Bane’s email didn’t specify whether Outdoor Channel would leave the state if some but not all of the bills pass and which, if any, are less palatable than others.
Other companies have made similar threats to leave the state, most notably Magpul Industries, which manufactures the sort of high capacity magazines that one of the bills would make illegal.
Lawmakers are prepared to continue the debate well into the evening and perhaps into Saturday.
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