Published February 16, 2013
A package of gun control measures that won initial approval in Colorado’s Democratic-controlled House Friday night could result in
several hundred jobs lost at the state’s largest manufacturer of high-capacity ammunition magazines.
Erie-based Magpul Industries has threatened to leave the state if lawmakers are successful in passing the sweeping gun-control package, which limits the number of rounds a magazine can hold, according to The Denver Post.
“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,” Doug Smith, Magpul’s chief operating officer, told The Post.
The bill limits magazines to 15 rounds, with a more restrictive eight-round limit for shotguns. The bill makes an exception for magazines that people already have in their possession.
The legislation would require manufacturers to engrave magazines with serial numbers and dates — a requirement Smith believes is “burdensome and unnecessary,” The Post reported.
Magpul, which employs some 200 people directly and supports about 400 jobs through subcontractors, expects to contribute nearly $85 million to Colorado’s economy this year, according to The Post.
Testifying before a state House committee Tuesday, Smith said he feared the proposal would hurt his businesses and restrict future expansions and warned the state could lose millions in tax revenues.
Smith said an ammunition limit “will not improve public safety, will not reduce crime, and would endanger the lives of Colorado residents by unduly restricting their ability to defend themselves.” “Arguments to the contrary are based purely on emotion and not facts,” he added.
Although the bill has been amended to exempt manufacturers, Magpul still plans to leave the state if the measure banning high-capacity magazines passes.
“We can’t disappoint our customers nor ignore our convictions. Anyone who votes in favor of this bill votes to drive over 600 jobs out of [Colorado],” the company said in a post on its Facebook page Thursday.
Prior to Friday’s vote, Vice President Joe Biden personally phoned four lawmakers from his ski vacation in the state to speed along the emotional debate.
Biden phoned three freshmen legislators along with Democratic House Speaker Mark Ferrandino. The calls came amid a long debate over the proposals, including expanded background checks and ammunition limits — responses to mass shootings, including the killings at a Colorado movie theater.