The result is that a few of those states now face the possibility of losing gun-related industries.
Texas had now joined a number of others states encouraging those industries to move to more gun-friendly locations.
At the same time Bee County shooting and hunting enthusiasts have seen their shopping options increase. As of last weekend, two retail outlets now offer guns, ammunition, scopes, magazines and other accessories in the county.
Gunsmith Nicholas Bauer, the latest business owner to jump into the retail business, said he would welcome gun and accessory manufacturers to Texas.
His store, Beeville Armory, opened on the U.S. Highway 181 Bypass Frontage Road just last weekend.
Already, companies like Colt and Strum Ruger & Co. are threatening to move out of Connecticut after that state passed tough gun control laws.
Magpul, a Colorado-based company that makes accessories for AR-15 rifles like the one Lanza used, is threatening to leave that state after legislators passed new restrictions on law-abiding gun owners.
PTR Industries, a Bristol, Conn. maker of high-end semiautomatic rifles, has announced its intention of moving out of that state.
That company will be taking 40 jobs with a $50,000 weekly payroll elsewhere.
Bold Ideas, a company that manufactures AR-15-type rifles under the name Colt Competition, has announced that it will be leaving Oregon to relocate in North Texas.
That companies are planning to move to Texas is good news to Jeff Massengill and Tammy Casciato. Their shop on Cagle Lane, Americana Arms, has been in operation for several months now.
Bauer said moving a gun manufacturing operation is a serious and costly endeavor, and some companies may rethink plans to move because of the costs.
He said if companies are allowed to operate where they are and still ship their products out of state, they might not relocate.
“I moved a lot of equipment across town, and I’m having to reset everything,” Bauer said.
Also, companies which manufacture guns, ammunition and accessories tend to be loyal to their employees.
If Walmart or General Motors want to relocate a plant, they are not likely to consider the hardships to their employees. But a gun company will think before moving the jobs of skilled craftsmen, Bauer said.
“Jack Daniels whiskey is made in a dry county,” Bauer cited as an example. Residents of Moore County, Tenn., must drive to another county to buy a product made in right in Lynchburg.
Bauer said gun companies in states where they will no longer be allowed to legally make their products will have no choice but to go elsewhere.
“I hope a whole mess of them come to Texas,” Bauer said.
“I’d love to have them here,” Massengill said about the prospect of Magpul moving from Colorado to Texas. The company has said it would rather not stay in a state where its customers are not allowed to purchase the products it makes.
“We have some fantastic companies in Texas,” Massengill said. LaRue Tactical, a maker of precision AR-15-type rifles, is located in Leander, and Cimarron Firearms, which produces traditional western firearms, is located in Fredericksburg.
“I try to buy American,” Massengill said. “I’d rather do business locally. By that I mean in the state.”
For example, Americana Arms sells the Mossberg Maverick shotgun, which is assembled in South Texas.
Massengill said he talks to federal firearms licensed dealers all over the country on a regular basis. “We love Texas,” they tell him.
One of the products American Arms now offers is an AR-15 lower assembly that sells for $169. He said it is simple for a gun owner to start with that part and assemble his or her own, customized AR-15.
Bauer also offers AR-15 lower assemblies, and he is able to make the custom product right in his shop.
“We do gunsmithing and custom building,” Bauer said. “We do business all over the United States. The main idea of Beeville Armory hasn’t changed,” Bauer said. The only reason he opened a retail operation was to help pay the increased overhead of moving to a larger building.
“We keep a pot of coffee on,” Bauer said. “We’re gun guys. We’re outdoorsmen. We like to connect with people like us.”
Of course, the same could be said of Americana Arms. The steady stream of shoppers visiting the little store tucked away in a neighborhood just southeast of Beeville is proof of its popularity.
Massengill said he ships guns to other places in Texas and the U.S. But he does not ship handguns. He keeps those in stock for local customers.
A lot of Americana Arms’ shoppers come from out of town because of his prices. He also works the big gun shows in Robstown and San Antonio, and Casciato said they will soon be working the shows in Austin.
Massengill also offers concealed handgun courses, a service which Bauer avoids.
Because Texas is becoming more popular among gun enthusiasts, both businesses expect to succeed in the national market.
Bauer admitted that the two shops overlap some in what they offer. But each business has something different. The owners continue to send business to the other store when a customer want something one of them does not have.
Bauer, for instance, refuses to charge a 3 percent fee for taking a customer’s credit card. That might attract some customers to his business.
The owners of both shops expect lawmakers in other states to keep pushing gun and shooting-related businesses toward Texas.
They believe lawmakers who have no connection with shooting and hunting enthusiasts to keep right on passing ridiculous laws that only affect law-abiding, tax-paying gun owners of their states.
Bauer said the residents of those states are as much to blame as those who pass the laws.
“We vote for these lawmakers. We put them in office,” Bauer said. “But people in these states can move to a freer location.”
“Texas is a good example,” Bauer said. “We have folks like Greg Abbott and Rick Perry working for us. They’ve done a lot.”
Thanks to the state’s lawmakers, Texas might end up attracting shooters and hunters in addition to the shooting industry manufacturers.
Gary Kent is a reporter at the Bee-Picayune and can be reached at 358-2550, ext. 120, or at reporter@mySouTex.com.