By Joe Rubino Camera Staff Writer from dailycamera.com
Erie-based Magpul Industries irked Colorado gun control advocates in 2013 when it launched its “Boulder Airlift” ad and sales campaign aimed at flooding the state with high-capacity rifle magazines before the Legislature could pass a law banning their sale.
This weekend, the weapons accessories manufacturer is selling T-shirts printed with images from one of its Cold War-inspired ads at the National Rifle Association’s annual meeting in Indianapolis.
The ads – using imagery from the Berlin Airlift in the late 1940s – debuted last March in response to eventually successful legislation that banned magazines capable of carrying 15 or more rounds of ammunition from being sold in Colorado.
One of the ads – now being sold on T-shirts – showed a smiling girl catching one of the company’s popular PMag magazines as they are being dropped from a World War II-era cargo plane. The banner on the ad reads, “PMAG … the new weapon of Democracy!” It also bears a “Magpul Boulder Airlift” logo with “Fighting for individual liberties” printed below it.
The ads last year accompanied an effort to increase production at the company’s Erie facility and provide a greater number of high-capacity PMags to Colorado consumers before the legislation banning their sale was passed.
The Magpul newsletter announcing the T-shirt sale reads, “Our most popular Boulder Airlift artwork is now a shirt!” and provides a link with directions to the company’s booth this weekend at the Indiana Convention Center, where the NRA meeting began Friday.
The newsletter also says that Texas, Wyoming and Boulder Airlift magazines would be for sale this weekend.
An employee at Magpul’s Erie headquarters, 400 Young Court, declined to comment Friday on why the ad was turned into a T-shirt more than a year after the sales campaign.
She recommended contacting Duane Liptak, director of Magpul Dynamics, when he returns from the NRA meeting next week.
Boulder Mayor Matt Appelbaum said Friday that Magpul is entitled to sell whatever type of T-shirts it wants, and he doesn’t take issue with the company calling out Boulder by name.
“If that’s the type of campaign they want to run against the city of Boulder, I think we should all be kind of proud of ourselves,” he said, “and the state for doing the absolute minimum in bringing some very tiny amount of sense into the area of gun control.”
Though Appelbaum said he supported the high-capacity magazine ban and other gun control measures last year, he said Boulder hardly led the charge on the issue.
“I suspect they think that, for their constituency, it’s fun to pick on Boulder and the state of Colorado,” he said.
Prior to the Boulder Airlift campaign, Magpul threatened to leave Colorado and take hundreds of jobs with it should the high-capacity magazine ban pass. According to a January announcement, the process of moving 92 percent of its workforce out of the state is expected to be concluded sometime early next year. A vast majority of the jobs will be moved to Cheyenne, Wyo., with some going to Texas. It remains unclear if any Magpul jobs will remain in Colorado.
“Moving operations to states that support our culture of individual liberties and personal responsibility is important,” CEO Richard Fitzpatrick said in a January news release.
According to Paula Mehle, Erie economic development coordinator, Magpul filed a business license with the town in January saying it employed 85 people at its local facility, and 300 people in total.
Contact Camera Staff Writer Joe Rubino at 303-473-1328 or firstname.lastname@example.org.