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Celebrity Gun Manufacturer Sets Up Shop in Texas

Jesse James, best known as a vendor of high-end motorcyles, cited the state's "gun-friendly" attitude as the reason he opened his new firearm business here.

Guests check out Nomad AR-15s at the Jesse James Firearms Unlimited launch party Saturday.

Following efforts by Gov. Rick Perry to convince gun manufacturers to relocate to Texas, a celebrity firearm maker has set up shop here, citing the state’s pro-Second Amendment attitude. 

“Texas is very business friendly, and more guns are legal here,” high-end motorcycle magnate Jesse James told The Texas Tribune at a Saturday launch party for his new company, Jesse James Firearms Unlimited. 

Perry toured the U.S. throughout 2013, visiting gun manufacturing firms and advocating for them to move their operations to Texas. Business targeted included several in Maryland, New York and Connecticut, where public outcry for reform of gun laws quickly surfaced following a mass shooting at a Newtown elementary school.

In attendance at James’ launch party were representatives of the National Rifle Association, the Texas State Rifle Association and other gun rights advocacy groups. 

“Texas is probably one of the most gun-friendly states,” said David Stroud, president of the Texas State Rifle Association. 

Public support of relaxed gun restrictions in Texas have recently been increasing, with advocacy groups and electoral hopefuls voicing their support for legalizing open carry of handguns. 

Attorney General Greg Abbott, the GOP front-runner for governor, has endorsed the measure, as has fellow Republican gubernatorial candidate Tom Pauken, the former chairman of the Texas Workforce Commission. 

James relocated his motorcycle business, West Coast Choppers, from Long Beach, Calif., to Austin in 2010. He said he made the decision because of lower tax rates and the spirit of opportunity present here. 

“It’s an employee-friendly state,” James said. “Texas understands that people are trying to build families here and grow, and they support that.”

He said when he moved his business to Texas, he knew that he wanted to branch out into something else, and after seeing the Texas attitude on guns, it just seemed like an opportunity for success. 

"I felt very welcome here," James said. 

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