|Economics and a hot-button political issue are intersecting in Colorado, as the state prepares to enact several new gun laws.
Democratic Governor John Hickenlooper is expected to sign the three new laws on Wednesday. The first requires a universal background check for people wanting to purchase a gun in the state. The second says gun buyers must pay for that background check. And the third puts a 15-round limit on ammunition magazines.
But the ban on larger-capacity magazines is gathering the most heat. It turns out that one of the nation's top producers of large-capacity gun magazines, Magpul Industries, is based in Colorado. The company manufactures a line of 30-round magazines for AR15, M4 and M16 rifles, and it says it has sold millions "to military, law enforcement and commercial users."
An entry on the Magpul Facebook page says the company will "start our transition out of state almost immediately," if Hickenlooper signs the bill into law.
In a press release issued last month, Magpul noted it directly employs 200 people and supports another 400 supply-chain jobs, while adding more than $85 million annually to Colorado's economy.
"We could choose to stay in a state that wants our jobs and revenue, but not our products, and lose half the jobs we are fighting to save, or potentially the entire business, when our customers stop buying," said Magpul CEO Doug Smith. "Or, we can take the company and those 600 jobs out of Colorado to continue our growth and the growth of American manufacturing in a state that shares our values. This is not really a choice."
According to the Associated Press, Democrats in the Colorado legislature have tweaked the gun magazine ban to allow companies in the state to produce ammunition magazines of all sizes, as long as they're sold out-of-state.
And others involved in the gun control controversy doubt Magpul's promise to relocate.
"I don't think Magpul is about to pull out," Bill Hoover told AP. Hoover's grandson was one of 12 people killed last summer at a movie-theater shooting in Aurora, outside of Denver. "It's going to cost them a bundle of money."