Littleton, Colo., ammunition retailer Ammo Kan will begin manufacturing gun ammunition in Laramie, Gov. Matt Mead's office announced Tuesday.

Littleton, Colo., ammunition retailer Ammo Kan will begin manufacturing gun ammunition in Laramie, Gov. Matt Mead’s office announced Tuesday.

The manufacture facility will be known as Maverick Ammunition. It will employ more than 50 people and expects to produce 1.8 million rounds a week by the second half of 2014, according to a media release.

Securing Maverick Ammunition in Laramie is the second coup for the Laramie Economic Development Corp., a local economic and business development organization, in an arms race among states and counties across the country battling for a piece of the Colorado gun industry.

In May, Fort Collins-based HiViz Shooting Systems -- which makes sights for the ends of rifles, among other firearms components – announced its plan to move to Laramie.

Earlier this year, the Colorado Legislature passed bills restricting firearms use in response to a mass shooting in an Aurora movie theater. The laws prompted some Colorado gun companies to announce they’re leaving. Dan Furphy, president and CEO of the LEDC, said Ammo Kan executives felt that sentiment.

“What happened in Colorado was pretty upsetting to a lot of these companies that are in the sporting goods area, particularly with hunters and shooters that do recreational shooting,” Furphy said in an interview Tuesday afternoon.

The employees will be locally hired and range from entry-level positions to warehouse and distribution managers, Furphy said. The company’s executives told Furphy they are interested in using Wyoming Department of Workforce Services training grants to teach the Wyoming employees job skills.

Ammo Kan is remodeling an existing building west of downtown Laramie near the Laramie River. It offers good access to trucks, Furphy said.

“They will start by making range ammunition, which is practice ammunition,” Furphy said. “Then they will eventually add a precision line for hunters and tactical shooters. I can’t tell you all the calibers they’re going to manufacture for practice ammunition, it’s usually the smaller calibers.”

Furphy said Curt Perry, CEO of Ammo Kan, called him months ago about opening a facility in Laramie as the Colorado Legislature was debating the gun bills. They talked about the state workforce training grants and the sporting culture in Laramie. Hunters enjoy the Medicine Bow Range east of town and the Snowy Range west of town, Furphy said.

Perry said the company has plans for expansion in Wyoming, including producing firearm components and opening a showroom in the Cowboy State.

“We look forward to settling in and making Laramie our lifelong home,” he said in the governor’s statement. “We appreciate the support of the local community and of the state of Wyoming as a whole as we put together our construction plans.”

Furphy said the company also plans to start a brass buy-back program for customers and dealers who want to purchase or carry range ammunition at reduced prices. It’s an ammunition recycling program in which the company will take used bullets, sort, clean and process, Furphy said.

Mead said in the statement he is excited about the job creation in Wyoming.

“The announcement of this business expansion is especially exciting because the company is a great fit for Wyoming,” he said. “We are a solid pro-gun state. We are passionate about hunting and sport shooting, and we support a renaissance in manufacturing. ”

HiViz facility

Furphy expects a groundbreaking for a 20,000 square-foot HiViz facility in about a month, he said.

The Colorado sight and firearm accessories manufacturer will move all of its headquarters to Wyoming. Employees will have the option to move or they can commute.

Additionally, the company has said it expects to hire locally.

Furphy said he’s willing to talk to any other Colorado gun company interested in moving to Laramie.

Magpul threats

Magpul Industries Corp., the Erie, Colo.-based firearm magazine manufacturer, was the first Colorado gun company to threaten to leave that state over gun legislation.

It still hasn’t said publicly where it is going, said Randy Bruns, CEO of Cheyenne LEADS, an economic development group in Laramie County.

“I think moving a company is a very complex enterprise,” he said. “Everything I’ve heard is that they’re still committed to that.”

The company is Colorado’s largest and most profitable manufacturer of high-capacity ammunition magazines.