KUSA - Gun rights supporters say gun control bills could cost Colorado tens of millions of dollars.
Ammunition magazine maker Magpul promised to leave Erie, and it looks like it's already started.
"Specifically and in general we oppose the anti-gun legislation," Magpul spokesperson Duane Liptak said. "House Bill 1224 specifically has a lot of legal vagaries and regulatory problems that are just going to be a nightmare to operate under, as well as just on principle, the idea of supporting a state who has basically banned responsible citizens from owning our products would just be extremely damaging to our brand and our relationship with our customers. So we really have no choice but to relocate."
Liptak says Magpul has talked to Texas, Utah and Wyoming about relocating operations to those states. Nebraska, Idaho and Pennsylvania want the business, too.
Magpul's first manufacturing outside Colorado is planned for a month from now and a total pullout by year's end.
"Our manufacturing capability and our Colorado spend will be out of the state before the end of the year," Liptak said. "[It] is a reasonable goal, I think, just based on what we can move relatively, short term."
Liptak admits that some households will be uprooted. He says it will be especially painful for employees who grew up in Colorado and have family here.
"It's hard to say, open-ended, when the last Magpul representative will be out of Colorado, but it will be based on suitable facilities and timelines that make sense for the families," Liptak said.
Governor John Hickenlooper will sign three controversial bills, including House Bill 1224, on Wednesday, behind closed doors. A public press conference will follow.
House Bill 1224 bans ammunition magazines of more than 15 rounds, and any other magazine that can be easily converted into the larger size.
House Bill 1229 requires universal background checks for gun buyers.
House Bill 1228 makes gun buyers pay for their own background checks.
Monday the Governor's office took 1,800 calls on the issue. That's one every 18 seconds.
Tuesday, the Governor's office received nearly 1,500 calls.
Magpul started in 1999 and has been in Colorado ever since.
"For the first five years it basically operated out of our founder's basement," Liptak stated. "Then in 2004 they [Magpul] moved into a small utility shed here in Erie with no heat or air conditioning. Since 2004 the company has grown to what it is today."
Magpul is a privately held company and not required to publicly release annual revenue figures. However, Liptak says the company is valued "just south of a half a billion dollars."
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