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February 22, 2013

Gun-equipment makers threaten to flee Colorado as curbs advance

(Continued)

In an interview, Hickenlooper said he planned to talk to executives at Magpul Industries about their concerns.

The Colorado legislature is considering measures that include limiting ammunition magazines to 15 rounds (eight rounds for shotguns) and requiring background checks for all firearm purchases. The package passed the Democrat-controlled House on Feb. 18.

The package is expected to be introduced next week in the Senate, where its prospects are less certain. Democrats hold a 20-15 majority and need 18 votes to pass the bills. Some Democrats have expressed concern about the high-capacity magazine bill, saying they don’t want to drive businesses and jobs out of the state.

Magpul, based in Erie, about 28 miles north of Denver, provides work for plastics molders like Alfred Manufacturing, said Greg Alfred, chief executive of the 65-year- old company, in a Feb. 15 letter to Hickenlooper. Magpul’s business helped Alfred grow to 150 employees today from 40 in 2008, he said.

“If HB 1224 passes, we will plain and simply have no choice but to relocate part or all of our operations to another state,” Alfred said.

Limiting the capacity of magazines for firearms such as those used in the Newtown and Aurora shootings has been a focus of gun-control efforts in numerous states.

In Congress, Sen. Frank Lautenberg, a New Jersey Democrat, introduced legislation on Jan. 22 to ban the manufacture and sale of magazines holding more than 10 rounds. The measure echoes a House bill sponsored by Representative Carolyn McCarthy, a Democrat from New York, and may be the Democrats’ best chance to pass legislation on weapons hardware.

Magpul’s opposition has helped focus much of the debate in Colorado on magazine limits.

“We’ve had a total of 34 massacres and out of the 34 that have taken place in our nation, 28 of them have something in common,” said State Rep. Rhonda Fields at a forum this week. Fields, a Democrat whose district includes Aurora, was the House sponsor of the bill to put limits on magazines.

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