Colorado: Gun Companies Move Out, Marijuana Stores Expand

Firearms accessory manufacturer Magpul Industries is pulling out all of its operations from Colorado due to the state’s new restrictive gun control laws.

The company announced Thursday that its new headquarters will be in Texas while its manufacturing, shipping, and distribution will be based in Cheyenne, Wyoming.

In 2013, the Colorado state legislature passed a measure that limits the sale of firearm accessories which are the dominant thrust of Magpul’s business. Legislators attribute the passing of the new law as a reaction to the mass-murder shooting that took place in an Aurora, Colorado movie theater in July 2012.

The Magpul Industries relocation will affect about 200 jobs according to sources. Two other companies are also planning on leaving the state which will result in further job losses for Colorado. Alfred Manufacturing and HiViz Shooting Systems have announced that they will be uprooting themselves as well. HiViz manufactures parts for guns and other weapons. Formerly located in Fort Collins, Colorado, it will also be moving to Wyoming. Many of its products are outlawed under the new gun laws.

Wyoming and Texas are thrilled to become the new homes for the displaced companies. Bob Jensen, CEO of the Wyoming Business Council, said, “This will raise our visibility for the shooting, hunting, and outdoor technology industry as well.” Jensen added, “There are going to be significant hiring opportunities at the Wyoming facility; those will start to be posted as soon as we can finish up the improvements and remodeling at the initial location, the temporary facility.” 

Jensen also said that Magpul’s decision to move to Wyoming could attract other manufacturers to follow. “There’s been at least two other companies that are associated with Magpul that have indicated an expansion of their facilities to be able to continue in their supply relationship with Magpul,” he explained.

Texas Governor Rick Perry said in a statement, "In Texas, we understand that freedom breeds prosperity, which is why we've built our economy around principles that allow employers to innovate, keep more of what they earn, and create jobs."

As the gun industry departs, Colorado is setting its sights on creating jobs through the distribution and retailing of marijuana. Colorado passed a legalized recreational marijuana law in November.

As a result, officials in Colorado have issued 348 retail marijuana licenses that allow the sale of up to 28 grams of marijuana to buyers 21 and older. Colorado anticipates that marijuana sales will generate some $67 million in annual tax revenue. 

Colorado’s branch of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) claims that everyone will gain because of the new law. “It will mean jobs, tax revenue for the state and local jurisdictions, increased tourism, and a developing progressive new industry in Colorado,” NORML attorney Rachel Gillette remarked.


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