DENVER–A dozen states are vying to welcome Magpul Industries if the company makes good on its vow to leave Colorado as a result of tough new gun-control legislation.
Officials from Alabama, South Carolina, Texas and West Virginia have targeted Magpul, urging the company in letters to consider their states as its relocation destination.
What’s more, individuals in at least 10 states have launched social-media campaigns aimed at luring the Erie-based manufacturer of firearms accessories.
“At a time when our government is consistently thwarting the ability of individuals to own businesses, voluntarily trade goods and services, and grow our economy, South Carolina is committed to writing a different story,” said Rep. Jeff Duncan, a South Carolina Republican, in a Feb. 19 letter. “In South Carolina, we believe in the right to keep and bear arms.”
Alabama Agriculture Commissioner John McMillan echoed those sentiments. “We are a state whose people are committed to Second Amendment rights. You can be assured that the Alabama Legislature would never seriously consider any legislation that would jeopardize your company and your workers,” said McMillan in a Feb. 19 letter.
Popping up on Facebook are pages with names like “Bring Magpul to Wyoming” and “Magpul and Texas. A perfect match.”
“[H]ere in West Virginia, we pride ourselves on being very pro-constitution and pro-second amendment,” said state Delegate Joshua Nelson in a Feb. 11 letter posted on the “Bring Magpul to West Virginia” page, which has nearly 1,200 “likes.”
Richard Fitzpatrick, founder and president of Magpul Industries, announced Friday that the company would leave Colorado if House Bill 1224, which limits ammunition magazines to 15 rounds, becomes law. The House approved the bill 34-31 Monday with no Republican votes.
“Our company could not, in good conscience, continue to manufacture our products in a state where law-abiding citizens are prohibited from purchasing and owning them,” said Fitzpatrick in a statement. “The passage of this bill will do nothing to enhance public safety, but will force us to immediately begin taking our business to another state.”
House Democrats tried to soften the blow by approving an amendment exempting manufacturers from the 15-round limit, reasoning that they also make magazines for the military and law enforcement. Republicans called the move hypocritical.
Doug Smith, Magpul chief operating officer, said the 10-year-old company would likely suffer a customer backlash if it remained in Colorado.
“We could choose to stay in a state that wants our jobs and revenue, but not our products, and lose half the jobs we are fighting to save, or potentially the entire business, when our customers stop buying,” said Smith. “Or, we can take the company and those 600 jobs out of Colorado to continue our growth and the growth of American manufacturing a state that shares our values.”
Republican Rep. Cory Gardner went on defense Wednesday, asking Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper to tour Magpul with him Thursday. The governor has expressed support for the idea of limiting magazine rounds but has not said whether he supports the House bill.
“Magpul is threatening to leave our state, taking hundreds of jobs with it, as the direct result of gun control legislation that is not even going to make us any safer,” said Gardner, whose district includes Magpul, in his Feb. 20 letter.
Another Colorado company, Alfred Industries of Denver, is also poised to leave. Republicans read a letter from chief executive Greg Alfred on the floor Monday saying that the firm, which makes plastic ammunition-magazine cases and other accessories, “will plain and simply have no choice” but to relocate if the bill is signed.
Texas Gov. Rick Perry began his pursuit of Magpul a week before the House vote, promoting his state’s financial incentives to new businesses and status as a right-to-work state.
“As you consider your options for responding to unwarranted government intrusion into your business, you may choose to consider relocating your manufacturing operations to a state that is more business-friendly,” said Perry in a Feb. 7 letter.
With national unemployment hovering at 8 percent, luring Magpul would be a coup for virtually any state. The company reports that it employs 200 people and supports another 400 supply-chain jobs, contributing more than $85 million each year to the Colorado economy.