Magpul Industries, the Colorado-based gun accessory manufacturer, has remained quiet in the wake of news this week that the shooter in the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary school in Connecticut last December used three of the company’s 30-round ammunition magazines to spray a classroom with a hundred bullets and murder 26 people over the course of ten terrifying minutes.
The company didn’t respond to phone and email messages left by the Independent and it hasn’t responded to other news organization requests, either. The silence is a departure.
Magpul has commented on the Sandy Hook killings in the past.
“These acts of pure evil, committed by deranged individuals with no morals, nor respect for life, are enough to shake one’s faith in human nature,” the company said in a release in the wake of the shooting.
Magpul Marketing Director Duane Liptak didn’t return messages seeking confirmation, but comments he appears to have made online in March as a participant in gun group M4Carbine.net discussion threads and as a representative of the company were more frank and less diplomatic.
“Instill a moral code, responsibility, and respect for others…and viola [sic]…your young man doesn’t grow up to be a doucherocket,” Liptak said, referring to Adam Lanza, the disturbed Sandy Hook shooter.
In another thread, he suggested that media coverage of last year’s mass shootings was lopsided: “It’s unfortunate that the 363 days last year that did not include a high-profile mass shooting by an insane individual received less attention than the 2 days that did.”
That’s the kind of dark vision usually conjured by gun-control activists — the idea that citizens of the United States have arrived at a time where it is news that a day has passed unmarred by a tragic shooting, or that only two horrific random massacres occurred in a year, in addition to thousands of other non-mass gun deaths.
Members of the media and the public this week in Colorado have debated whether the fact that Lanza used Magpul magazines in his shooting spree is news or worthy of coverage. But Magpul has been a volunteer high-profile player all year in the charged gun-rights politics that have marked the state, company executives like Liptak repeatedly seeking media attention and attempting to manage public opinion.
Magpul aggressively opposed Colorado legislative efforts to curb gun violence in the wake of the Sandy Hook shootings — and the shootings that came four months earlier at a movie theater in Aurora outside of Denver. Company executives passed in and out of the capitol throughout the spring, meeting with lawmakers and the governor and testifying against a suite of proposed gun-control bills, including one aimed at banning sales of magazines that contain more than 15 rounds — like the company’s PMAG 30 magazine, which was used by Lanza at Sandy Hook. The Magpul executives testified on one side and family members of victims of the Sandy Hook shooting testified on the other. Throughout the months-long debate over the bills, Magpul hosted political rallies and gun giveaways and threatened to leave Colorado if the bills passed.
“We’re ideologically opposed,” Chief Operating Officer Doug Smith told FOX31 Denver. “We just don’t believe in [the magazine ban] and we have a lot of brand equity with our customers we need to protect.”
After several of the bills did pass into law, including the magazine ban, Magpul fueled efforts to recall legislators who voted for them and founded a nonprofit political organization, Free Colorado, dedicated to repealing the laws.
Free Colorado “engages in targeted actions to reverse Colorado laws that imperil the rights of law-abiding firearm owners and ensuring that no other state passes such reckless government regulation,” according to the organization website.