Tags: colorado | gun | industry

Colorado Losing Outdoor Industry Over Gun Control Law

Tuesday, 30 Apr 2013 03:47 PM

By Sandy Fitzgerald

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Gun makers and other outdoor-related businesses are considering leaving Colorado after state officials passed legislation restricting the sales of high-capacity magazines and requiring background checks for private and online gun sales last month.

Companies such as Magpul Industries, which makes weapons components and gun magazines and HiViz Shooting Systems, a weapons optics maker have already announced plans to leave Colorado, and others may follow, reports ABC News.

Eric Brown, a spokesman for Gov. John Hickenlooper, said the administration expected some companies to relocate and “we respect their decision to do so.”

Colorado has joined several other states in passing tougher gun control laws following high-profile shooting sprees, including one in their state, when a gunman killed 12 in an Aurora movie theater. Colorado was also the site of the 1999 Columbine school massacre in which 12 students and a teacher were killed.

"Colorado is a beautiful state with great people, but we cannot in clear conscience support with our taxes a state that has proven through recent legislation a willingness to infringe upon the constitutional rights of our customer base," HiViz CEO and President Phillip Howe said.

The new law isn't just affecting gun makers, but other businesses as well, including outfitting businesses for hunters and the television industry, which films a great deal of outdoor programming in Colorado.

Outdoor Channel host Michael Bane, an independent executive producer of four shows for the network, said he planned to stop production in the state even before the law was signed.

"The message we will take to our viewers and listeners is that these proposed laws are so dangerous to hunters and any other person, be she a fisherman or a skier who brings a handgun into the state for self-defense, that we cannot recommend hunting, fishing or visiting Colorado," he wrote to state Sen. Steve King in March.

According to Bane, moving his production will cost Colorado nearly $1 million this year.
Wes Atkinson, owner of Atkinson Expeditions in Fort Collins, said the law is already impacting the Centennial State and his business, and that he's lost at least $30,000 since March because longtime customers no longer want to come to Colorado to hunt.

"They say to me, 'Wes, would love to hunt with you and your operation. Can we hunt in Wyoming or Nebraska, where they still protect the right to bear arms?'"

Atkinson is planning to move 25 percent of his business to Nebraska

"Legislation-wise, the outdoor community has no voice in Washington, D.C., said Atkinson. "We didn't have a voice in our own state, even though we represent 80 percent of the nonresident dollars that comes into this state to purchase licenses for the state of Colorado. There was nothing we could do," he said.

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