In a 24-7 vote on April 10, the Texas state Senate gave preliminary approval to a measure that would direct the state Economic Development and Tourism Office to facilitate the relocation or expansion of businesses that manufacture firearms, ammunition and shooting accessories. SB 1467 grants state officials authority to draw money from the Texas Enterprise Fund and to seek special franchise tax exemptions, sales tax exemptions and other incentives for firearms-related companies that move to the Lone Star State or for gunmakers already located there with plan to expand their facilities.
A companion measure has been introduced in the Texas House of Representatives.
The Senate bill, introduced by Sen. Craig Estes (R-Wichita Falls) is viewed mostly as a symbolic measure, as Texas Gov. Rick Perry and other lawmakers have already been actively courting gun manufacturers to relocate there.
On Monday, April 8, Bold Ideas, Inc., an Oregon company that builds Colt Competition AR-15 platform rifles for the West Hartford, CT-based Colt's Manufacturing Co., announced its plans to move operations to Breckenridge, TX. According to the Breckenridge Economic Development Corporation, the company was already running a help-wanted ad in the local newspaper, and interviewing for open positions could begin as early as next week.
In recent weeks, it has been widely reported Gov. Perry sent letters to more than 30 out-of-state firearms and accessories manufacturers, notably in states that have passed restrictive new gun laws. Texas Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz also have put the call out to gunmakers to relocate to Texas, including Maryland-based Beretta U.S.A. State Rep. Larry Gonzales (R-Round Rock), said he had written to more than two dozen firearms and accessory manufacturers, specifically inviting them to consider the cities of Round Rock, Taylor or Hutto in his district.
In the end, the lawmakers contend, it's about jobs and business.
"Firearms manufactures, ammo manufacturers and accessory manufactures are good, high paying jobs and we want them here in Texas," state Sen. Estes Tweeted. "I filed SB 1467 because I want gun manufacturers to know there's at least one place where they are welcome."