Advocates for gun control want—according to opponents like the NRA—to take away your guns. While that’s probably not the case, leave it to a tiny Texas town to make gun ownership the law. Sort of. On Tuesday, the town, which happens to be named Gun Barrel City, passed a resolution to encourage all of its citizens to own a firearm.
Gun Barrel City, a small town on Cedar Creek Lake about 55 miles southeast of Dallas, made a statement in keeping with its Wild West name. The city council unanimously passed a nonbinding resolution urging its more than 5,000 residents to buy a firearm in order to show their support for the Second Amendment, reported NBC-DFW. Part of the resolution states:
In order to provide for and protect the safety, security, and general welfare of the city and its inhabitants, the city supports every head of household residing in the city limits to maintain a firearm, together with ammunition.
The resolution makes a point of exempting citizens who are suffering from mental or physical disabilities, have been convicted of a felony, as well as any who “conscientiously oppose” firearms, wrote KHOU. City leaders are not trying to build a paramilitary citizenry, but to politely nudge them towards their local gun store. “If you want to [buy a gun],” said City Manager Gerry Boren. “We’re not saying you have to, but if you want to, you have a right, and we’re gonna support that right.”
Mayor Paul Eaton told NBC he came up with the idea in response to the national push for stricter gun regulations. He told the AP that he has received dozens of responses to the resolution, most of them overwhelmingly positive. “This is a right, and we don’t need our rights taken away,” said Eaton. The city council’s statement didn’t actually award the citizens of Gun Barrel any new rights, so whose attention are they hoping to attract with this resolution (which is really more of a suggestion)? Is it meant to initiate a showdown with the feds? Or something else?
Boren told KHOU that the move is more about business than political provocation. They need jobs. Storefronts are empty. With a name like Gun Barrel City, the industry they are hoping to attract isn’t quite a mystery. The city’s logo features two pistols crossed at the barrels. The city’s official slogan is “We’ll shoot straight with you.” You’d be hard pressed to find a place better suited to be a hub for the gun industry; the marketing is built-in. “Why not?” said Boren. “Come to Gun Barrel City; help us build an industrialized area and be a part of it.”
Governor Perry has done some saber rattling of his own for the Texas gun industry, wrote the Washington Post. On April 12 he tweeted an open invitation to Connecticut-based gun manufacturer PTR Industries to bring their business to Texas after the company threatened to leave Connecticut, which passed tougher gun-control legislation. “Hey, PTR,” Perry tweeted. “Texas is still wide open for business!! Come on down!” Gun Barrel City seems like the ideal home for a company like PTR Industries, Perry would no doubt agree.
In the national gun control debate that flared up after the mass shooting in Newtown, Connecticut in December 2012, Texas politicians, including Perry, have been vocal about their ideas, which generally call for more guns, not less. While state politicians have seen little movement on many of their proposals, the smaller voices in Gun Barrel are hoping to make themselves heard.