As gun manufacturers across the country face tougher regulations, the city of Wellington is trying to lure them to Kansas. The city's economic development director took a shot in the dark by contacting four firearms makers across the country.
With the I-35 corridor about two miles east of the city, Wellington has lots of prime real estate that could be used for economic development. Cody Sims looks over a map of Wellington, what he calls the 160 East corridor.
"It's all about growing," Sims explains. "Growing opportunity, increasing quality of life for not only Wellington and Sumner County, but for the region."
Sims recently sent letters to four firearms and accessory makers who have threatened to leave their current locations if their states tighten gun control laws. Those companies are Remington, Magpul, Reuger and Beretta.
"I got a response back from Remington right now," Sims said. "It was encouraging. They said 'Hey, we received your letter. Thank you for thinking of us and we will continue thinking of Wellington.'"
Sims and others believe Wellington's proximity to three major highways, a railroad hub, and a regional airport are all enticing. Not to mention, a population with a skill set of parts assembly.
"Jobs are very important. Growth is so important," explained Wellington Chamber of Commerce President Shelley Hansel-Williams. "But we also have to create a quality of life in our communities and I don't think that anyone around the world can compete with the quality of life in South-Central Kansas."
Maryland-based Beretta and Colorado-based Magpul both have made threats to relocate if their states enact tougher laws on guns and large capacity magazines.
"We are always looking to bring in business and jobs," Hansel-Williams said. "That's what it's really about, jobs."