GUN BARREL CITY -- It's doubtful civic leaders foresaw the future when they named their new town four decades ago, but current leaders are making the most of it now.
The City Council passed a resolution on April 23 supporting the right of all heads-of-households to own a gun. Mayor Paul Eaton said the council was not urging everyone to buy a gun, but it wanted to raise awareness about the issue and support the Second Amendment. Afterwards, Eaton posed for pictures in front of the city's logo -- a pair of crossed pistols -- for the local media.
As everyone left the council meeting room, City Manager Gerry Boren was overhead telling Eaton, "It will go viral now." And he was right. The Dallas media picked it up within a week, and now Eaton is getting calls from radio stations all over the country wanting to interview him.
As it turns out, the council indeed had a lot more on its mind than just raising public awareness, and it could turn out to be a pretty savvy business move on the part of city officials.
Boren said this week he is courting the weapons and ammunition industry, touting Gun Barrel City as an idea location for factories and retail centers. It's a move that coincides with the efforts of Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who is sending letters to the firearms industry telling it Texas would be proud to make a home for them if the gun control debate in other states is making them uncomfortable.
At the recent National Rifle Association convention in Houston, the governor made sure everyone knew he was there and supportive of them.
A representative of the Economic Development & Tourism division of the Office of the Governor met with the city's Economic Development Corp. this week to explain how the governor could help them attract new business.
With lots of land left undeveloped in the area and many commercial locations vacant, civic leaders see this move as an opportunity for needed growth, Boren said.
Boren said public opinion among residents seems to be about 70 percent in favor of the what city officials are doing.