The Lone Star State is not turning purple. Texas is a red state and that’s the way it’s staying. In fact, I suspect that Texas is turning more conservative, not less. Yes, there is a significant and growing Hispanic population. Yes, that demographic tends to vote Democrat. But there’s another demographic trend that doesn’t get much ink: red state refugees fleeing to Texas. You may say I’m a dreamer; anti-gun liberals will accompany the exodus and, eventually, carry the day. But I’m not the only one . . .
Out at the range today, a bearded OFWG Cowboy Action Shooter was adamant: Texas is drawing more and more “old-fashioned Americans” to its bosom. “Texas is like what America used to be,” he told me, after attributing the shooting genre’s success to its connection to traditional values of independence and resilience. “Blue states are driving right-thinking people out of their home towns. A lot of them are coming to settle in Texas.”
The anecdotal evidence is in. I’m constantly running into freshly minted Austinites who are also right-thinking right-leaning voters.
The guy who upgraded my alarm system left California two months ago to escape red tape and taxes. “Once I get on my feet I’m setting-up my own security company,” he said. “My wife and I saved $10k a year just by moving here.” A school Dad I met at movie night relocated his software company to Austin from the Big Apple (New York not Cupertino). Why? “Are you kidding?” he replied. “This is an incredibly business-friendly place.”
More to the point (of this website) both men are gun owners. Living in a gun-friendly city. Not once have I encountered any negativity towards what I do for a living, in a town with a reputation for hippie love-ins. Quite the opposite. When the woman working at the dry cleaners heard me talking about gun rights she had to chime in. “You’re talking my language,” she said. “I like this guy.”
Equally, the gun business is booming in Austin. Sure, America’s second largest state capital has kept new gun ranges out of the city (save for the ancient and not-at-all venerable Red’s). But Austin gun stores are doing land office business. And there’s plenty of firearms action outside Austin City limits; including plans for an upmarket members-only range.
Small training companies like Hex Tactical Resources (VP Rachea Pendley above) are springing-up to cater to the demand for the newly shortened Texas Concealed Handgun License (CHL) classes. At the same time, they’re finding paying customers for courses in low-light handgun engagement, intro to defensive carbine, combat shotgun and women-only classes.
I get the feeling Austin’s reaching critical mass: there’s a large number of gun-oriented entrepreneurs, plenty of seed capital (i.e. money) and a business-friendly environment. Could Austin could become the Silicon Valley of firearms? That’s probably wishful thinking from a blue state refugee. Then again, TrackingPoint; the fresh and funky firearms manufacturer that tapped into the local high-tech industry and the State’s passion for guns.
The Truth About Guns is here too. Me, specifically. Dan soon. And now that the weather’s turned hot (rather than roasting) and I know where to buy radicchio, I’m beginning to kick out the jams gunwise. I’ve got to say that picking-up a gun and shooting stuff has been a welcome break from writing about defending our right to pick-up a gun and shoot stuff.
There’s no doubt in my mind that our gun rights’ safety is directly proportional to the number of people who shoot guns recreationally. Once you’ve experienced that pleasure, whether you’re in New York or Texas, you don’t want to lose it. That’s a part of the gun rights debate you don’t hear often. Or, at the least, often enough.