Just when some of its customers were beginning to question gun accessories company Magpul Industries' sincerity about moving out of Colorado in response to anti-gun legislation passed last summer, the organization announced that it has finalized its moves to Wyoming and Texas. The company gained national attention last spring when state representative Lori Saine read a message from the firm's CEO that he would move Magpul if the legislature passed a bill banning the sale of magazines containing more than 15 rounds of ammunition.
The legislation passed in March, and in April Magpul started investigating various options for its operations and its 250 workers. By October some of the company’s customers were getting antsy, wondering if it was all show and no go. On its Facebook page, Michael Franklin of Arizona, commented:
Hmmm. I hope I’m wrong, but I’m starting to feel dumb for buying a bunch of your stuff to support your company….
What happened to the principles you were passionate about?
Steve Allen, from North Carolina, was slightly more sympathetic:
Still waiting for [your] move. I’m a business owner — I know how difficult a move is.
You drew a line and the Colorado legislature crossed it. I sure hope your line means more than Obama’s line in Syria!
The company, which began operations in 1969, makes a wide range of products supporting the shooting sports and self-defense industries, including magazines (many of which hold more than 15 rounds), rifle sights and grips, buttstocks, hand guards, rails, and other accessories.
In its press release, COO Doug Smith said: “Magpul made the decision to relocate in March 2013 and has proceeded on an aggressive but deliberate path. These dual moves will be carried out in a manner that ensures our operations and supply chain won’t be interrupted.”
Richard Fitzpatrick, Magpul’s CEO, explained why the move to Wyoming and Texas was necessary:
Moving operations to states that support our culture of individual liberties and personal responsibility is important.
This relocation will also improve [our] business operations and logistics.
Included in the press release were copies of letters from the governors of both Wyoming and Texas welcoming the move. Wyoming Governor Matt Mead wrote:
Wyoming and Magpul are a great match. The state is looking to expand and diversify its economy. Bringing an innovative and growing manufacturing operation to Wyoming is a significant step for the state.
We offer Magpul an attractive tax environment, stable and reasonable regulations, not to mention a firm commitment to uphold the Second Amendment.
Texas Governor Rick Perry stated:
In Texas, we understand that freedom breeds prosperity, which is why we’ve built our economy around principles that allow employers to innovate, keep more of what they earn, and create jobs. I’m proud that Magpul is the latest employer to join the ranks of companies that call Texas home.
Magpul’s decision to move its manufacturing operations to Cheyenne was made a little easier with Wyoming's financial package of some $13 million in loans and grants. The gun accessories firm initially will lease a 58,000-square-foot facility temporarily while a permanent 100,000-square-foot building is being constructed. Negotiations continue with Perry and other Texas officials, and Magpul has narrowed its options for its corporate management offices down to three different locations in the north-central region of the state.
Another Colorado gun accessories manufacturer, HiViz Shooting Systems, based in Fort Collins, announced earlier that it is moving its operations to Laramie, Wyoming. And two other Colorado manufacturers that support Magpul — Denver-based Lawrence Tool & Molding, and Wheat Ridge-based Carbon Arms — are considering similar moves.
What’s particularly noteworthy about Magpul’s move isn't just its likely improved operations, or the ripple effect of its suppliers following it to its new destination, but the willingness of company officials to take a stand based on principle, and mean it. Concerns voiced by Magpul’s customers that this might just be a publicity stunt have been successfully quelled.