DENVER—Colorado Democrats, starting with Gov. John Hickenlooper, are coming under attack for driving homegrown Magpul Industries out of the state with last year’s gun-control push.
The Erie-based company, which makes polymer firearms accessories, announced Thursday that it would move its corporate offices to Texas and its manufacturing facility to Wyoming. Magpul plans to maintain a small presence—about 8 percent—in Colorado in order to continue to fight the gun-control laws passed in March.
“This announcement is a stark reminder of the damage that this governor has done, and continues to do, to Colorado,” said former Republican Rep. Tom Tancredo in a statement. “Hickenlooper gladly signed anti-gun legislation, with full knowledge that his actions would alienate and demonize law-abiding citizens, and job-creating businesses such as Magpul.”
Kelly Maher, executive director of Compass Colorado, noted that Magpul’s announcement came days after Democratic legislators said job creation would be their top priority in the 2014 General Assembly, which begins Wednesday.
“If I ran a company whose signature product was banned by legislators who didn’t even understand how it works, I wouldn’t stick around and provide jobs either,” said Maher in a statement. “Democrats may say they are focused on creating jobs, but we are only on day two of a new year, and their unreasonable legislative priorities have already created a net job loss.”
A year ago, Magpul officials were planning to build a state of the art facility in Broomfield to accommodate their rapid growth, but quickly pivoted after the gun bills were signed in March by Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper.
Democrats introduced the bills in reaction to two mass shootings in 2012. Among those supporting the legislation was Mayors Against Illegal Guns, a gun-control group founded by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
“Governor Hickenlooper could have stood for jobs and liberty in Colorado. Instead he chose to stand with Mayor Bloomberg,” said state Sen. Greg Brophy (R-Wray) in a statement.
Most of Magpul’s 200 employees are expected to find themselves out of work as the company makes the transition over the next year.
“2013 began with Magpul planning expansion in Colorado, now 2014 begins with the announcement that Magpul will move 92 percent of its operation to Wyoming and Texas,” said Brophy.
Magpul was founded in 1999 by CEO Richard Fitzpatrick in the basement of his Longmont home. The company is a plaintiff in the lawsuit against the measure filed by 55 county sheriffs.
So far Colorado Democrats have made no public comment on Magpuls’ departure. Senate Democratic leaders said Thursday they hoped to boost the state’s economy with measures such as increasing higher-education funding and child-care credits, according to the Denver Business Journal.
Republican legislators, meanwhile, are expected to file bills to overturn the 2013 gun laws, although getting past the Democratic majorities in both the House and Senate should come as a high hurdle.
The issue is also expected to receive plenty of attention in the 2014 gubernatorial race. Both Brophy and Tancredo are seeking the Republican nomination, as are Secretary of State Scott Gessler and former state Sen. Mike Kopp.
“As we begin 2014, this Magpul announcement sounds a clarion call that John Hickenlooper must be replaced this year,” said Tancredo. “The damage he has done to our state’s economy and individual liberties is tragic. Hickenlooper’s attacks on [gun] rights and chasing Magpul from the state is an albatross he cannot remove from his neck.”