After over 10 years of manufacturing in Erie, Colorado, the “firearm furniture” company Magpul Industries has announced its possible intentions to leave its current home, taking 600 jobs with it. And if Representative Kendell Kroeker has his way, the state legislature may try to steer Magpul into Wyoming.
The tragic December shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary school spawned attempts by the federal and many state legislatures to ban certain types of weapons and magazines. One of the closest to home is Colorado’s House Bill 13-1224, a ban on standard-capacity magazines. HB 13-1224 is part of a comprehensive package of legislation unfriendly to the Second Amendment, but in itself might be enough to drive Magpul away.
The company stated its intention to leave the state if the bill comes into law, as it would ban the possession of many of their products. The bill passed through the House of Representatives on February 18.
“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,” Magpul’s Chief Operating Officer Doug Smith said in a statement. “Or, we can take the company and those 600 jobs out of Colorado to continue our growth and the growth of American manufacturing in a state that shares our values… It’s an unfortunate and inevitable result of the actions of the Legislature if this bill passes.”
With the profitable company apparently ready to leave Colorado, some in Wyoming are trying to draw the business over the border. On February 21, Representative Kroeker introduced an informal resolution to the Wyoming House inviting Magpul to relocate to Wyoming if HB 13-1224 passes.
“…the State of Wyoming is open for business, and the laws… are compatible with and supportive of the manufacturing of any product allowed under the Second Amendment…” the resolution reads. “…We recognize Magpul’s valuable contributions to firearm manufacturing and encourage the company to relocate its manufacturing and corporate facilities to the State of Wyoming.”
Efforts to bring Magpul are spanning more than just the state legislature. Glenn Woods of Bold Republic Radio in Gillette reports that the Campbell County Economic Development Board is in contact with Magpul, trying to bring the company into the area. Woods noted that Gillette has several advantages if Magpul chooses to settle there. Gillette has plenty of power plants he said, and the local workforce is already relatively skilled in mechanical operation, thanks to the nearby mines. On top of that, relocating to Wyoming from Colorado would likely be a little cheaper than moving elsewhere.
The state of Wyoming is already a firearm manufacturing haven, and for good reason. The lack of a state personal income tax is friendly to employees and entrepreneurs alike, along with other business-friendly tax codes.
The firearm culture in Wyoming is also one of the strongest in the nation, giving manufacturers a large customer base. The NRA identifies Wyoming as a state with some of the strongest firearm freedom nationwide, and the anti-assault weapon Brady Campaign gives Wyoming very low ratings in regard to gun regulation. Perhaps that is the reason a handful of firearm and accessory companies already call Wyoming home. Perhaps Magpul will do the same.