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Colorado’s new gun laws push HiViz firearms business to Wyoming
DENVER — A Colorado firearms company has found a new home across the border in Wyoming, protesting the passage of restrictive gun laws during a week in which the National Rifle Association convention vowed to continue repelling further gun control measures.
HiViz Shooting Systems announced that it will move its core operations from Fort Collins, Colo., to Laramie, Wyo. That is about an hour’s drive, but light-years away in terms of state gun policy.
HiViz becomes the first gun-related manufacturing company to pick up stakes since Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper signed three sweeping gun control laws in March. Other firearms manufacturers, including Magpul Industries, have indicated that they will relocate in response to the legislation.
Colorado Republicans, who opposed the gun control bills, accused Democrats of killing jobs in pursuit of a liberal social agenda. Democrats control both houses of the state legislature and passed the gun control bills with no Republican votes.
Democrats insisted that the measures were needed to improve public safety after two mass shootings in 2012, including the movie theater massacre in Aurora, Colo., that left 12 dead. Republicans argued that the bills, which include a limit on ammunition-magazine capacity, will have no effect on safety.
“The Democrats and the governor are outsourcing jobs from Colorado to other states,” said state Sen. Greg Brophy, a Republican. “This was so unnecessary, and the worst part is, these bills don’t do anything to make anyone safer.”
Wyoming Gov. Matthew Mead released a statement last week welcoming HiViz, saying the “culture and people make Wyoming a great fit for the company.” HiViz manufactures high-technology shooting accessories and other firearms-related goods, though not firearms themselves.
“I believe this state has so much to offer all citizens and businesses, but moving is never easy. I want to assure HiViz and its customers that we will work diligently to make sure this transition is a smooth one,” said Mr. Mead, a Republican elected in 2011.
At the weekend, the National Rifle Association held its convention in Houston, and its leaders urged its members never to give up their weapons and said they are involved in an epochal struggle over guns.
Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre exulted Saturday in the defeat at the federal level of a bill to expand background checks and the Democrats’ abandonment of tougher measures despite earlier confidence that the politics of gun control had changed.
The “political and media elites” have tried to use recent mass shootings “to blame us, to shame us, to compromise our freedom for their agenda,” Mr. LaPierre said in a fiery speech, adding that the bill “got the defeat that it deserved.”
“We will never surrender our guns, never,” he vowed.
Incoming NRA President James Porter began the convention Friday by warning members that “this is not a battle about gun rights” but rather “a culture war.” The people “here in this room are the fighters for freedom. We are the protectors,” he said.
On one of the numerous fronts in that war, new Wyoming resident HiViz is not alone in fleeing Colorado.
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About the Author
Valerie Richardson covers politics and the West from Denver. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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