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Wyoming panel approves money for ammo manufacturer

In this Feb. 28, 2013 file photo, workers assemble 30-round capacity ammunition magazines for high-velocity rifles, inside the Magpul Industries plant in Erie, Colo. Magpul, one of the country's largest producers of ammunition magazines for guns, is leaving Colorado and moving operations to Wyoming and Texas because of new state laws that include restrictions on how many cartridges a magazine can hold.

In this Feb. 28, 2013 file photo, workers assemble 30-round capacity ammunition magazines for high-velocity rifles, inside the Magpul Industries plant in Erie, Colo. Magpul, one of the country's largest producers of ammunition magazines for guns, is leaving Colorado and moving operations to Wyoming and Texas because of new state laws that include restrictions on how many cartridges a magazine can hold. Photo by The Associated Press.

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — The Wyoming Business Council on Thursday unanimously approved $13 million in state grants and loans to help one of the country's largest producers of ammunition magazines for guns relocate to the state.

The council's 11-0 vote sends the proposal involving Magpul Industries Corp. to the State Land and Investment Board, which is scheduled to meet Feb. 6.

Erie, Colo.-based Magpul is seeking to move its production, distribution and shipping operations to Cheyenne because of gun control laws enacted last year in Colorado.

The $13 million in state economic development money will help Magpul start operations in Cheyenne later this summer in a temporary facility and then move into a new, permanent facility a couple of years later.

Magpul's move to Cheyenne is expected to bring about 90 new jobs to Wyoming. The company is planning to move its corporate headquarters and its staff to Texas.

Magpul will invest about $4.4 million in the move to Cheyenne. The local economic development organization in Cheyenne will provide about another $4.1 million in land, money and initial rent relief for the Magpul move, bringing the total state and local investment to about $17.1 million.

Wyoming Business Council staff estimate, however, that the eventual total return to the state will be about $20.6 million.

Business Council board members asked about the wages Magpul pays, the company's financial soundness and other details of the proposal.

Jonathon Anderson, an attorney representing Magpul, said it's difficult for the company to definitively set a wage because it has never hired in the Cheyenne labor market. But he assured the board that the company would pay at or above standard local wages.

Council staff also said the company was financially solid.

Randy Bruns, CEO of Cheyenne's economic development organization, said the Magpul package is complex.

"When you put together a complicated project as that, I always have angst about whether everyone will understand it and whether it'll all hold together, and I'm pleased it did," Bruns said.

Bruns said he knows that other states had offered Magpul more lucrative incentives, but the company choose Wyoming after weighing other considerations.

When it announced the move, Magpul officials noted the importance of locating its operations to a state that values gun rights.

The State Land and Investment Board, which considers the proposal next, is made up of the five statewide elected officials, including Gov. Matt Mead. If the state board approves the package, Mead still has the final say before the deal is done.

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