Amarillo invites Northeast gun makers to the panhandle - KFDA - NewsChannel 10 / Amarillo News, Weather, Sports

Amarillo invites Northeast gun makers to the panhandle

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AMARILLO -- Amarillo's economy already relies heavily on weapons manufacturing with Pantex and Bell Helicopter, and now the city is trying to add firearms to the mix.

Right now anti-gun legislation in the Northeast has many gun makers entertaining the idea of moving to a more gun-friendly location, and the Amarillo Economic Development Corporation is trying to convince them that the panhandle is the place to be.

Governor Rick Perry's mission to lure business to Texas is now targeting those Northeast gun makers, and Amarillo is taking part in the recruitment mission in hopes of persuading those manufacturers to join our already established weapons industry.

"I don't think we're too concerned about the political nature of the issue, because look what we already make here," Amarillo National Bank Vice President, and Amarillo Economic expert William Ware said.

Ware believes the panhandle would welcome gun makers with open arms, and our central location would be appealing to those manufacturers.

AEDC President Buzz David joined Governor Perry in Connecticut and New York last week to meet with those businesses, along with EDC leaders from several other Texas communities.

"Whether they're making guns or spoons, manufacturing is important for any area," Ware said. "And regardless of our political climate, we'd welcome any manufacturer here in Amarillo."

If those manufacturers do move to Texas, it won't have much of an effect on the price or availability guns in the state. But the effect on the economy could be big.

"Well, it wouldn't really effect my business at all," Panhandle Gunslingers Owner Bernie Stokes said. "But I'm all for it because of the jobs and all that it would bring to Amarillo economically."

The products at Panhandle Gunslingers come from whole salers across the country.

Stokes, says that's true with most small gun shops. So the proximity of the manufacturers won't make selling guns easier in Texas.

But employees for gun makers will likely be easier to find here than the Northeast.

"They have a different view of gun dealers and gun sellers and gun manufacturers here than in the Northeast," Stokes said.

If any large gun maker were to consider Amarillo, the AEDC would likely have to offer a pretty penny as an incentive. But here in the panhandle, that's not likely to be an issue.

"I don't see any controversy in it because I'd love to see the business," Stokes said.

David declined to speak on camera about the recruiting trip to the Northeast saying the AEDC does not speak about ongoing negotiations.