On Friday, liberal lawmakers in the Colorado state House passed legislation requiring background checks on private gun sales and placing limits on ammo magazines. A final vote may come today before the bills move on to the state Senate. Dems now hold majorities in both chambers and the governor’s mansion is occupied by Democrat John Hickenlooper.
Here’s how radical the proposed measures are compared to the rest of the nation:
…Colorado would join California, New York and Rhode Island as states that require sweeping background checks on virtually all gun purchases.
Currently, only four states prohibit magazines that hold over 10 rounds, while New Jersey bans magazines with more than 15 rounds and Maryland those with more than 20, the group said.
Two other gun measures put forth by Colorado Democrats also received preliminary approval on Friday by House lawmakers. One bill would ban concealed weapons on college campuses. The other would charge gun buyers for background checks.
Hickenlooper has won praise from the Wall Street Journal in the past for showing “good sense” about gun control. But when progressive push comes to shove, what will Hickenlooper — a rumored 2016 Democratic presidential contender — do? The test is nigh. As his Democratic colleagues prepare to send him a pile of ineffectual new gun regulations, Colorado-based companies are preparing to abandon the state.
Is Hickenlooper ready to accept responsibility for the disappearance of hundreds of jobs and hundreds of millions in revenue and spending? Ammo magazine manufacturer Magpul served notice late last week:
Colorado’s largest and most profitable manufacturer of high-capacity ammunition magazines has vowed to leave the state if lawmakers pass a measure banning the devices — a move officials with the company say could cost hundreds of jobs and upward of $85 million in potential spending this year.
Magpul’s threat has Democratic lawmakers scrambling to strike a balance that remains true to their goal of limiting the number of rounds a magazine can hold without frightening off businesses.
“If we’re able to stay in Colorado and manufacture a product, but law-abiding citizens of the state were unable to purchase the product, customers around the state and the nation would boycott us for remaining here,” said Doug Smith, Magpul’s chief operating officer. “Staying here would hurt our business.”
…in addition to a wide array of gun-magazine products, the privately-held Magpul makes many other products, including cases for mobile phones and tactical sights for firearms. This year, the company says it expects to spend upward of $85 million in Colorado alone on employee payroll, manufacturing subcontractors, suppliers and service providers.
Smith said much of Magpul’s business comes from out-of-state sales, contracts with the U.S. military, and with local and national law enforcement.
The ripple effect could reach a dozen other firms located in Colorado:
If Magpul Industries follows through on its threat to leave Colorado, it could harm more than a dozen Front Range firms specializing in plastic injection molding and reduce the region’s capacity in that manufacturing process.
…As much as possible, the company tries to contract with Colorado vendors, who represent about 90 percent of its supply chain, he said. Those suppliers received about $46 million last year from Magpul, with the company projecting that number to reach $85 million for 2013, Liptak said.
A large share of those dollars goes to manufacturers that mold the company’s mostly plastic components, including the controversial cases that can hold more than 15 rounds.
North Denver’s Alfred Manufacturing Co. has grown from 40 employees in 2008 to 150 largely because of the work provided by Magpul, said the company’s third-generation chief executive, Greg Alfred.
“If House Bill 1224 passes, we will relocate part or all of our operations out of state,” Alfred warned Gov. John Hickenlooper and members of the state legislature in a letter Friday.
Alfred said plans for a $1 million expansion to add another 15,000-square-foot building to the 60,000 square feet the company has at West 44th Avenue and Elati Street are on hold.
…Blaine Dacus, molding-division manager at Alfred, said Magpul contracts support more than a dozen plastic-injection- molding firms.
“They have kept molders in business,” Dacus said.
Alfred Manufacturing’s legacy metal stamping and machining business runs on four 10-hour shifts a week, while Magpul contracts have kept the plastics side going 24/7, Alfred said.
Arrogant Democrats here in Colorado have fooled themselves into thinking that companies like Magpul are bluffing. The company fired back last night on Facebook:
We’re hearing some rumors that the Gov and the Dem caucus think we are bluffing. Just to clarify for them, then…we’re not a political company. We don[‘]t play political games. We’ve made our position very clear, very publicly. We would not survive lying to our customer base, nor would we ever consider it. If you pass this, we will leave, and you will own it. We’ve already got plans in place to get PMAG manufacturing moved rapidly, and the rest of the company will follow. We will make sure to at least have a small remain-behind operation through the 2014 elections so that we can remind folks why we are gone.
In other news to be filed under Gun Control Hysteria Has Consequences, a number of gun makers are now refusing to sell arms to police in gun-grabbing New York state:
Olympia, Wash.-based Olympic Arms is one of the industry’s smaller players, but news that it has stopped sales to police in the Empire State has added a new twist to the protests over the law, and lit a fire in the blogosphere.
“We just didn’t feel it was right,” said Brian Schuetz, Olympic’s president and co-owner.
The new law allows continued sales of assault-style rifles to police agencies but not to civilians. “It didn’t make sense that citizens can’t have what police departments have,” Schuetz said.
Schuetz’s company posted an expansive explanation of its decision to pull out of New York on its Facebook page: ” … Legislation recently passed in the State of New York outlaws the AR-15 and many other firearms, and will make it illegal for the good and free citizens of New York to own a large selection of legal and safe firearms and magazines. We feel as though the passage of this legislation exceeds the authority granted to the government of New York by its citizens, and violates the Constitution of the United States.”
LaRue Tactical and EFI have also joined the sales boycott against New York.
Is this Colorado’s fate? What say you, Gov. Hickenlooper?
Update: The Colorado House just passed the magazine limit 34-31, with three Democrats voting no. On to the state Senate. Meanwhile, three more gun control measures up for recorded votes today.