The gun rights community has taken the adage “money talks and B.S. walks” and reversed it when discussing Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper’s signing yesterday of anti-gun legislation, and are now saying that their money walks, and Tom Gresham, host of the nationally-broadcast “Gun Talk” yesterday took a step right behind Magpul Industries.
Magpul, as this column noted, is moving its magazine manufacturing operation out of the Centennial State, taking the business tax revenues with it, and Gresham has advised Colorado Tourism via e-mail that he will be “avoiding Colorado for business, hunting, and tourism as long as my firearm is prohibited there.” Gresham tipped Examiner to his move via e-mail, and it's a sentiment that is being mulled by activists at the Seattle Guns forum.
The Denver Post today is reporting that Magpul's departure could cost the state "hundreds of jobs and upward of $85 million in potential spending this year."
The prospect of hunters launching a boycott against Colorado had evidently been foreseen by Denver Post outdoors writer Scott Willoughby, who appealed to the firearms community back on March 10 to not do this. He wrote, “The groups would have you protest a potential background check for a gun purchase by refusing to go fishing. Clearly these groups need to have their collective heads examined.”
“To frame the argument in related vernacular,” he argued, “the notion of such a boycott takes aim at innocent victims. True, the arranged marriage between hunting and the Second Amendment establishes almost every hunter as a gun owner, if not the other way around. But the agency that regulates hunting, fishing and all wildlife in the state — Colorado Parks and Wildlife — has nothing to do with gun control legislation. Yet, the blamers have somehow managed to pin a target on its back.
“Punishing CPW by refusing to purchase hunting and fishing licenses is a bit like protesting the rising price of milk by refusing to eat hamburgers,” Willoughby said. “Or protesting the price of gas by refusing to buy a new car. It's a total misfire.”
But this is about more than just a background check for a gun purchase, gun rights advocates insist. To paraphrase Willoughby, punishing law-abiding gun owners for crimes they didn't commit by criminalizing their firearms accessories is a bit like protesting Wall Street by shoplifting at a corner grocery store.
If a boycott “takes aim at innocent victims,” then so, too, does a law attacking magazines and the people who make them, and law-abiding gun owners who — just like CPW — had nothing to do with the Aurora massacre, the Sandy Hook tragedy or any other heinous crime. They are also “innocent victims” in a war of political correctness that also just hammered Magpul employees who will see their jobs go to other states.
If the Second Amendment rights and concerns of gun owners don’t get the attention of Hickenlooper and legislative anti-gunners, maybe money will, many activists believe. Letters and phone calls didn’t work, so maybe jarring the state’s economy might. There is much at stake, all of it wearing dollar signs.
According to KUNC radio, “Colorado is a popular destination for hunters in particular, with the state issuing more licenses than any other for big game, including elk. The state Division of Parks and Wildlife says big game hunting nets more than $400 million annually.”
The Grand Junction Sentinel reported back in December 2011 that, “Studies have shown the economic impact of fishing, hunting and wildlife-watching activities to Colorado is $3 billion annually, supporting 33,800 full-time jobs in the state.”
A report called “Hunting in America: An Economic Force for Conservation,” noted outdoors blogger Mia Anstine, shows that, “In Colorado alone, hunting added $762,750,827 to the state’s economy and supported 8,355 jobs.”
The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service today issued its annual report in the distribution of excise tax revenues from the Pittman-Robertson federal aid to Wildlife Restoration program. Revenues from a federal excise tax on firearms and ammunition are annually apportioned to state fish and wildlife agencies, based on hunting license and tag sales. This year, Colorado’s share comes to $13,164,031, and a lot of that money is due to license sales to non-resident hunters who might, like Gresham already has, take their money elsewhere.
Last fall, the National Rifle Association reported that “Colorado is enjoying one of its biggest big game seasons ever and when it's over the economic impact will top $403 million, according Colorado Parks and Wildlife officials.”
Historically, boycotts have had mixed results at best. But for many in the firearms community, hitting back at Colorado economically is better than simply rolling over, playing dead like a lapdog and pretending that nothing happened.