Richard Fitzpatrick, founder of Magpul Industries, said he would move his company from Erie, Colorado, to another state if the state legislature passes a pending bill that would limit firearms magazines to 15 rounds for rifles and 8 rounds for shotguns. Under the bill, not only would customers living in Colorado be unable to purchase his products, but his company would be forced to add serial numbers to each magazine made as well.
Magpul currently employs 200 people directly (and, indirectly, another 400, who work for his company’s suppliers) and has an annual payroll of some $85 million. Fitzpatrick, a former Marine who was deployed in Desert Shield and Desert Storm and who founded his company in 1999, told the Associated Press, “We truly believe this bill will do nothing. It’s a feel-good measure. But [our employees] will be directly affected.” He noted that limiting magazine sizes will not reduce gun violence and that criminals will always find ways around such laws. For example, some of his company’s magazines have turned up in California, a state that limits magazine capacities to just 10 rounds.
The bill, House Bill 13-1224,
prohibits the sale, transfer or possession of an ammunition feeding device that is capable of accepting, or that can be readily converted to accept, more than 15 rounds of ammunition or more than 8 shotgun shells.
A person who sells, transfers, or possesses a large-capacity magazine … commits a Class 2 misdemeanor [3-12 months in a county jail and/or a $250-$1,000 fine].
A large-capacity magazine that is manufactured in Colorado on or after the effective date of the bill must include a serial number and the date upon which the large-capacity magazine was manufactured or assembled. The serial number and date must be legibly and conspicuously engraved or cast upon the outer surface of the large-capacity magazine….
A person who manufactures a large-capacity magazine in Colorado in violation of the new provision commits a class 2 misdemeanor.
Magpul first announced its intentions to move its operations in February as the bill began to gain traction in the Colorado House because staying would be bad for business nationally. Magpul supplies private customers and law-enforcement agencies around the country who would not look kindly on a company continuing to operate in such a hostile environment. Said Doug Smith, Magpul’s CEO,
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. Staying here would hurt our business.
Smith also decried the bill’s requirement to engrave each magazine with a serial number and its date of manufacture, calling it “burdensome and unnecessary.” He added: “None of this helps protect people. We will leave if [the bill] passes.”
As the bill approaches a final vote, with every indication that it will pass the Democrat-controlled House, Magpul saw a marketing opportunity that would not only enhance its reputation among is customers, but leave a message for those Democrats determined to pass a useless, burdensome, and unconstititutional law: It announced on Saturday its “Boulder Airlift” — modeled after the Berlin Airlift — during which time some 200,000 flights brought in food and fuel to Berliners after access to the outside world was blocked by the Soviet Union. Magpul’s newsletter said:
Similar to the Berlin Airlift, the Boulder Airlift will bring much-needed supplies to freedom-loving residents trapped inside occupied territory.
While we plan to initially use FedEx or UPS instead of aerial delivery, we figure that $5 flat rate shipping will make up for any loss of "style points."
The company announced that it would allow its Colorado customers to create special accounts to buy products from its website — http.store.magpul.com — at prices substantially below those seen recently in retail stores or at gun shows. Explained Magpul:
If the pending state legislation limiting sales and transfers of standard capacity magazines does pass, we will not be the only ones affected; Colorado residents’ right to purchase and transfer standard capacity magazines will be infringed in the near future.
With that in mind, we are beginning a program to help as many residents of our home state as we can, while we still can. To meet this need, we have set up a process for CO residents to purchase limited quantities of magazines from our website.
At present Magpul sells 30-round magazines for an AR-15 for just $12.95 while magazines for the AK-47 sell for just $19.95, way below the $50 prices often found elsewhere.
Fitzpatrick also announced restrictions on offering his products to members of the law-enforcement community: They must agree in advance to promise to uphold their oath to the Constitution:
With the fight in Colorado right now … I have suspended all LE sales to states [which have similar bans] until we can implement a system whereby any Law Enforcement Officer buying [one of our products] for duty use will have to promise to uphold their oath to the US Constitution — specifically the Second and Fourteenth Amendments — as it applies to all citizens.
In one magnificent gesture, Magpul and its owner, Richard Fitzpatrick, have declared war on legislators determined to undermine citizens’ precious rights while giving his Colorado customers one last chance to purchase his products at fair prices. Although the move is not official, Magpul is entertaining offers from Wyoming and Texas to relocate once HB 1224 passes the Colorado Senate. Rumor has it that those states are offering to assist Magpul with its moving expenses as well.
Two Democrats who simply can’t understand why Magpul would want to leave the state are Reps. Daniel Kagan and Joe Salazar. Kagan said that Magpul will still be able to sell its product out of state, so what’s the big problem?
Manufacturers [like Magpul] will be able to still sell and transfer these high-capacity magazines to individuals in other states, the U.S. military and law enforcement. We want them to stay here in Colorado. It would be sad to see them leave.
Salazar insisted that the law would still allow Magpul to do business in the state, just not with its citizens. After all, said Salazar, “It’s imperative to keep jobs here.”
Unable to grasp the reality of the foolishness of the law or to see the hypocrisy in their statements, both intend on supporting the measure when it comes up for a vote later this week.
A graduate of Cornell University and a former investment advisor, Bob is a regular contributor to The New American and blogs frequently at www.LightFromTheRight.com, primarily on economics and politics. He can be reached at