DENVER–A Colorado firearms manufacturer has found a new home–in Wyoming.
HiViz Shooting Systems, a producer of shooting sights and other gun accessories, announced Thursday that the company is moving its core operations from Fort Collins to Laramie, a month after vowing to relocate in response to Colorado’s recently signed gun-control bills.
Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead said in a statement Thursday that the state’s “culture and people make Wyoming a great fit for the company.”
“I believe this state has so much to offer all citizens and businesses, but moving is never easy. I want to assure HiViz and its customers that we will work diligently to make sure this transition is a smooth one,” said the Republican Mead.
The HiViz move comes as the first confirmed departure of a Colorado firearms manufacturer in the wake of Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper’s decision to sign three gun-control bills in March. Several companies vowed to leave Colorado in a post-signing backlash that includes a recall effort against four Democratic legislators and a boycott of the state’s hunting season.
The next manufacturer to make its departure official could be Magpul Industries, which announced in a Facebook post Monday that the firm had begun producing its gun accessories outside Colorado. The company is expected to provide more details after this weekend’s National Rifle Association convention in Houston.
“More details on where HQ and production will be moving to will be announced as things are finalized,” said the post. “PMag production has already started out of the state. Please be patient, there is a lot of due diligence required to move a company of our size.”
Officials from more than a dozen states have tried to lure Magpul, an Erie-based company that employs 200 and supports another 400 supply-chain jobs.
HiViz CEO Phil Howe said after Hickenlooper’s bill-signing in March that he could not support a state that shows “a willingness to infringe upon the constitutional rights of our customer base.” In a statement Thursday, he said leaving Colorado was “difficult.”
“The decision to relocate the company was difficult and choosing the proper location was essential to our continued growth within the industry,” said Howe. “The fine people of the Wyoming Business Council and the Laramie Economic Development Corporation worked diligently to accommodate our needs and make us feel welcome.”
HiViz plans to construct a new facility in the Laramie River Business Park II, close enough to Fort Collins to allow employees “a manageable commute while they evaluate relocation options,” according to the statement issued by the Wyoming governor’s office.
“Howe said the company also considered Wyoming’s many advantages for business, including tax structure, resources from the University of Wyoming, favorable location, proximity to market and lifestyle,” said the statement.
Wyoming residents began posting enthusiastic welcome messages Thursday on HiViz’s Facebook page.
“We are thrilled you chose to move your great company here and hope many more follow your tracks,” said David Lee Burget.