Wyomingites cross fingers for Colorado gun magazine manufacturer to relocate

2013-03-21T07:00:00Z 2013-06-24T15:32:05Z Wyomingites cross fingers for Colorado gun magazine manufacturer to relocateBy LAURA HANCOCK Star-Tribune staff writer Casper Star-Tribune Online

Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper signed a bill Wednesday that will limit firearm magazine sizes in his state, bolstering the hopes of Wyoming politicians and business leaders that Magpul Industries Corp. will move to the Cowboy State.

Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead along with members of the Wyoming Legislature, the Wyoming Business Council, Cheyenne LEADS — the Cheyenne-Laramie County Corporation for Economic Development — and Forward Cody have reached out to the Erie, Colo.-based firearm magazine manufacturer.

The Denver Post has described Magpul as Colorado’s largest and most profitable manufacturer of high-capacity ammunition magazines. The company’s departure from Colorado to a so-called gun-friendly state could be seen as a symbol of the firearms divide in the United States, and a coup to states like Wyoming, with many of its residents cherishing firearms.

Competition will be stiff.

Since Magpul executives promised they would leave Colorado if that state created a law limiting ammunition magazines to

15 rounds, it has received offers from mostly “red” states ranging from South Carolina to Utah, according to media reports.

But Wyoming economic development leaders believe they have an advantage that the other states lack: proximity.

A company spokesman did not return calls to the Star-Tribune on Wednesday.

Renny MacKay, a Mead spokesman, said the governor had a good conversation with the company’s executives.

“He assured the company that this is a pro-gun state and we would welcome Magpul,” MacKay wrote in an email. “As he did when Wyoming was recruiting Microsoft, Gov. Mead touted Wyoming’s record – we have the most pro-business tax structure in the country, an excellent quality of life, and an accessible, responsive government. We are close by and would be a great home for Magpul.”

Wyoming has no corporate income tax, no inventory tax and no personal income tax. The cost of living is relatively low. Those are selling points, said James Klessens, CEO and president of Forward Cody, an economic development group that has spoken by telephone and email to Magpul employees.

Wyoming has a high number of military veterans, which will also be a selling point, he said.

“Their key leadership were all veterans, Marines,” Klessens said.

Klessens said the Colorado law, which goes into effect July 1, was amended to allow Magpul to continue manufacturing high-capacity magazines. It just can’t sell or distribute them in Colorado. After July 1, the company will have to ship outside of Colorado.

“Their pressure to jump and leave the state was not as high as it was initially,” he said.

That gives the company time to consider options. That’s good for Wyoming, Klessens said, because Wyoming business and civic leaders have time to sell the state.

Some Magpul employees live in Fort Collins, not far from Cheyenne, said Rep. Bunky Loucks, R-Capser, who has been in communication with a contact at the company on behalf of the Wyoming Legislature.

Annie Wood, the marketing and communications director for LEADS, said her organization has reached out to Magpul “but we don’t have anything confirmed.”

In February, members of the Legislature signed their names to an informal resolution – it was too late in the session to pass a formal resolution, according to the Legislature’s rules – encouraging the company to move to Wyoming.

“They manufacture products that a lot of people in Wyoming buy,” Loucks said.

The company has hundreds of employees. Magpul’s presence would diversify Wyoming’s economy, which is intensive in mining, tourism and agriculture, Loucks said.

Wyoming Business Council staff reached out to Magpul in mid-February when they saw the first media reports about the company’s promise on the Colorado legislation.

“As soon as we became aware of that, we were trying to make contact that day,” said Ben Avery, director of the Business Council’s business and industry division. “And have since have had follow-up contact with high-level executives. In fact, even this morning, Bob Jensen, our CEO, had a discussion with one of our good contacts at Magpul,” Avery said Wednesday.

Avery declined to speak for Magpul management on the company’s next move.

However, he said “everyone needs to be conscious” that a company’s roots are important. It’s where management’s families are. It’s where their suppliers are. While companies often expand outside their home states, it’s rare to completely move.

“On the front end of any media, it’s usually about the company really not wanting to move but hoping some media play will have some influence on the legislation – in this case, Colorado – not to pass the legislation that may be harmful to the company,” Avery said.

If Magpul were interested in Wyoming, it would probably next describe to the Business Council what technology, buildings and other infrastructure it needed. Business Council staff would get the word out to local economic development groups, which would prepare documents to show how they could fulfill the company’s needs. The Business Council would prepare those proposals as one package from Wyoming.

Reach state reporter Laura Hancock at 307-266-0581 or at laura.hancock@trib.com. Follow her on Twitter: @laurahancock.

Copyright 2015 Casper Star-Tribune Online. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(12) Comments

  1. dd ric
    Report Abuse
    dd ric - May 03, 2013 7:01 am
    There's already a lot of Timothy McNeighs in this state,so why not have terrorist materials close by if someone wants to make a point,and don't fprget the expanding markey of selling rifles to 6 year olds. ddric
  2. conservation know it all
    Report Abuse
    conservation know it all - March 25, 2013 1:21 pm
    Are you opening your store South of Baggs maybe??? Encampment could also use a new business, I hear industrial land is really cheap there.
  3. Wyomingsportsman
    Report Abuse
    Wyomingsportsman - March 21, 2013 4:53 pm
    As soon as the legislature exempts private parties and corporations from these types of laws, the courts generally find the laws arbitrary and capricious and throws them out. One has to wonder if New York and Colorado didn't specifically do this so they would be thrown out but make the anti-gunners feel good for a little while.

    I would love to see new business come to Wyoming for the right reasons. The general consensus is these laws will be thrown out by the Supreme Court anyway. Only time will tell.
    Meanwhile, I am opening up a large capacity magazine store on the Colorado/Wyoming border, and hopefully make enough to retire.
  4. carlover
    Report Abuse
    carlover - March 21, 2013 2:24 pm
    we will welcome this company, but they can pay taxes like we all do and pay for their land. it cheap enough, and the developers whp built all these business parks can cut then a break, after all they got the land cheap, should not the developers pays some bucks out once in a while in this town.
  5. Wizard of Death
    Report Abuse
    Wizard of Death - March 21, 2013 2:19 pm
    It would be better than giving free s#^% to the illegal beans that come here
  6. Wizard of Death
    Report Abuse
    Wizard of Death - March 21, 2013 2:15 pm
    nls do you do you have a job,or read the news do you own land or a home
  7. Sassy
    Report Abuse
    Sassy - March 21, 2013 12:04 pm
    are you kidding- he shut the gun bills down
  8. Sassy
    Report Abuse
    Sassy - March 21, 2013 11:25 am
    nls this happens all the time or they give huge tax incentives
  9. Sassy
    Report Abuse
    Sassy - March 21, 2013 11:08 am
    Nice try I doubt Nicholas,Burns,Christensen and Coe will roll out the welcome mat. I personally would help them move to Wyoming!!
  10. nls
    Report Abuse
    nls - March 21, 2013 10:15 am
    No Casper should not donate the land.. If they want to bring a business here let them pay like everyone else. . Why should a company From Another state get something for free when People who live right here have to pay to build a business. WOW
  11. Wizard of Death
    Report Abuse
    Wizard of Death - March 21, 2013 8:53 am
    Thank you Gov. Mead this state needs leaders like you. Casper should donate the land to Magpul to build their plant as a sign of good will,support and welcome.
  12. Wyoite
    Report Abuse
    Wyoite - March 21, 2013 7:15 am
    Too bad our legislative leaders in the senate recently chose to NOT protect pro gun companies that make these accessories, such as standard capacity clips. I bet Magpul notices the hostility our state senators have towards the gun lobby and looks for a gun friendly state that is proactive when it comes to protecting manufacturers of standard capacity magazines.
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