Guns and Gear

Gun business exodus begins in Colorado

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Greg Campbell Contributor
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HiViz Shooting Systems, a gun-parts manufacturer in Fort Collins, Colo., will move its operations up the road to Laramie, Wyo., making good on its threat to pull up its Colorado roots after Gov. John Hickenlooper signed into law several controversial gun control measures earlier this year.

Of the businesses planning to leave the state for the same reason, HiViz is the first to announce its new home.

“The decision to relocate the company was difficult, and choosing the proper location was essential to our continued growth within the industry,” said president and CEO Phillip Howe in a press release. “We look forward to settling into our new home in the firearm friendly state of Wyoming.”

Wyoming was chosen not just for its gun-friendly atmosphere, but also its tax advantages and because Laramie is less than an hour from its current location, allowing existing employees the option of commuting.

Construction on HiViz’s new headquarters is expected to start operations this summer.

The most high profile of the companies defecting from Colorado is Magpul Industries, which makes 30-round rifle magazines in small-town Erie, Colo.

One of the bills Hickenlooper signed bans magazines that hold more than 15 rounds of ammunition. The new law goes into effect July 1.

Magpul is expected to announce the location of its new headquarters after the National Rifle Association meeting this weekend in Houston. Wherever its new home, it’s already in operation: The company wrote on its Facebook page this week that gun sights and standard 30-round magazines (called PMAGs) are now being manufactured outside Colorado for the first time.

Magpul employs about 200 people and has been courted by Texas, Wyoming, South Carolina and Utah, to name just a few states eager for its business. Texas Gov. Rick Perry even made a personal appeal to the company.

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