The phenomenon Robert Jensen is observing is unprecedented.
Magpul Industries Corp. and other firearms manufacturers and firearm accessories companies in Colorado and Connecticut are debating picking up everything and crossing state lines, possibly even moving to Wyoming, to find a friendlier political environment.
While Magpul executives continue to evaluate where they want to move, Robert Jensen, the CEO of the Wyoming Business Council, said he’s received calls from other firearms manufacturers in Colorado and Connecticut. He declined to name the companies.
“My guess is it would be over the next 12 months [that] we would hear and see more about companies relocating,” he said. “I think it’s imminent but I don’t think it’s going to happen in the next month or two.”
A corporate move requires more than just opening a new office, Jensen said. There are licenses and permits to obtain, executives and their families who need to be sold on the move, a possible new labor force to hire, and evaluation of which state has the friendliest business environment.
“Expansions happen all the time, and we’re always talking to people about expanding here,” said Jensen. “But wholesale changes in their location are very, very rare.”
But the firearm manufacturing industry is, pardon the pun, under fire.
“This is a different set of circumstances, all driven by a policy change by the political leadership of a state, primarily,” Jensen said. “So that’s unusual. Those companies are doing business in those states for lots of reasons. So without some triggering event like this legislative change, you just don’t normally get people to pick up and move.”
On Monday, Magpul said on its Facebook page that it will announce which state it is moving to when details are finalized, following up on a previous promise to move when the Colorado Legislature passed a law limiting ammunition magazines to
The Facebook message said that it is manufacturing PMAG magazines outside Colorado.
According to The Associated Press, PMAGs are magazines that can hold
10 to 30 rounds.
A spokesman from the Erie, Colo.-based company did not return a message from the Star-Tribune.
Jensen said the company has not decided whether it will move to Wyoming or one of the other states that have extended welcomes.
The PMAG production may be temporary, Jensen said.
“It’s my understanding they were looking for a place to outsource their production of some of their products until they can make a decision on where they want to relocate their manufacturing,” he said. “That’s at least the state of the conversation as we’re in it with them right now.”
Legislatures in Colorado and Connecticut have stiffened gun regulation after shootings that left numerous people dead, including in an Aurora, Colo., movie theater and a Newtown, Conn., school.
State Rep. Bunky Loucks, R-Casper, has been the Wyoming Legislature’s representative to Magpul. He said that his contact at the company was Todd Neiberger, the chief financial officer.
Loucks last reached out to Neiberger on April 16, but the CFO hasn’t replied in more than a month, he said.
Loucks was hoping the company would relocate to Casper – he even found Casper residents who said they’d be willing to talk to Magpul about a building and financing. But the company indicated it was more interested in Cheyenne, he said.
“When I talked to Todd, they honestly were really interested in Cheyenne because several of the people, including himself, live in Fort Collins,” he said. “We have state employees who live in Fort Collins. It’s a beautiful community and they drive 40 miles or whatever it is.”