My mom is an arms dealer
Okay, well only sort of.
My mom and step-dad own a plastic injection molding company southeast of downtown Denver.
It’s called Lawrence Tool and Molding and they use classic machines to mash together molds and fill them with colored plastic to make different products. If “plastic injection molding” sounds boring or weird, you’ve dealt with it a lot more than you think.
Billions of pieces of plastic have been made this way. Nearly everything plastic, actually.
Yes, it’s factory-based and such, but kinda neat.
Okay, okay, “yeah, factories, plastic, yay Jon, but what about them guns?”
Well Mom and Lloyd use their injection molding machines to make high-capacity magazines for gas-operated, air-cooled, semi-automatic assault rifles.
Their client is Magpul, a Boulder-based weapons manufacturer and the 30-round magazine is a hot commodity these days.
And yes, there is little irony lost on the fact that Boulder, home of my Alma Mater CU is welcoming to counterculture and the hippie element.
It’s also home of Soldier of Fortune magazine. And Magpul.
When I was in Las Vegas a few weeks back to visit family and some friends from my last job, Alex and I went shooting at a range. I spotted the magazines for sale.
Pretty cool to see. Made in in my hometown.
Now, there are some interesting notes here about the magazines. Mom and Lloyd ship around 16,000 of these magazines nearly every week. It’s been gangbusters for Magpul.
But oddly, when those magazines are locked into an AR-15, they are illegal in the same city they are manufactured.
In Denver, you are allowed to own certain semi-automatic weapons, couched under the team “assault weapons.” But you cannot use them with magazines higher than 21 rounds. Lawrence Tool and Molding makes 30-round clips. They told me they needed a special permit in order to make them within the Queen City’s confines.
The demand for weapons and magazines has jumped over the last few years. And there is a large reason why.
The presidential election.
Politics are kind of my thing, and I think it’s always fun to make boring old politics tangible.
Gun sales are lightning hot. In fact, mandatory background checks to get firearms have jumped from 11.4 million in 2007 to 16.3 million in 2011.
While President Obama has some support for reigning in access to assault weapons, he is far from being anti-gun or anti-Second Amendment.
In fact, the President signed a law in 2010 that allows guns in national parks. This is a sizable expansion of gun rights for millions and yet it has been lost in the online chatter and sadly misguided information.
Ginned-up fear about the very unlikely has been guided by false information. Weapons and their accoutrements have likely flown off the shelves as a result.
But it’s business. I don’t believe the weapons industry is trumping up the misinformation to score a buck. Demand and supply is the name of the game. People want them and they get sold.
It’s like the seasonal trends that happen with health care products with giant vitamin C tabs. Or adorable mascots with awesome accents.
But in closing, I don’t want to get all serious and political and make things uncomfortable around the dinner table.
So I leave with this.
Yes, my family members mold high capacity ammunition magazines. But they also mold light up frisbees. For children ages 1 to 92.
Frisbees that light up.