Only On 6: Texoma's Gun Capital - KAUZ-TV: Newschannel 6 Now | Wichita Falls, TX

Only On 6: Texoma's Gun Capital

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It's no secret a majority of Texoma residents support gun rights, and for various reasons. It could be for sport, tradition or even just a stance for constitutional rights But no matter the issue, what we uncovered is that it's our rural communities that are more likely to have a higher population of people with a license to carry a concealed weapon.

In eastern Wilbarger County there's a tiny town that only 130 people call home. There's a post office and a school building but you won't find the hustle and bustle of a big city. Harrold, TX doesn't have a grocery store, it doesn't have a city government and it doesn't even have its own law enforcement.

"We are our first responders so that's exactly what we do. We take that seriously. So those of us who live in these communities are protected. If someone breaks into our home it's capital punishment," said David Thweatt, the superintendent of the Harrold Independent School District.

In Harrold, 13% of the population has a concealed weapon permit. Even teachers are allowed to carry concealed handguns in school. In fact, Harrold ISD is the first school in the nation to allow this.

Thweatt knows the community perhaps better than anyone else. He said many people here are always ready to pull the trigger because the Wilbarger's Sheriff's Office, which is the closest law enforcement agency, is 30 minutes away.

The town also sits right next to Highway 287 and a train track that has been triggering trouble.

Thweatt said, "Quite often we have passengers get off of the train and this is not a passenger train. And so many times we'll have people that are coming through our community who are not part of our community. We don't know who they are."

Seventy miles away another small town faces the same issues. Bellevue is second on our list of towns with the highest concealed weapon permits per capita in our area.

Around 360 people live in Bellevue and in fact, 11% of them carry a concealed weapon. They also said it's because of security and because they grew up around them.

Bellevue resident Michael Roland said he grew up shooting guns and hunting with his grandfather. Other people in town said off camera that their handguns have actually been passed down from generation to generation.

"All my neighbors around here, we all have guns but we're not going to go around killing anybody. We use it for recreation and you know, deer hunting or whatever hunting we do. It's just part of life," said Roland.

And the former Wichita Falls police officer said that even though his home got broken into once and it took 45 minutes for law enforcement to get there, he's not carrying a concealed weapon because of the danger he might face in Bellevue.

"When I go to a larger city, there's so much more crime in a larger city than there is around Bellevue most of the time and I just needed protection," said Roland.

A certain protection he says many people in rural Texas can only get from a concealed weapon.

The third town with the highest concealed weapon permits per capita is Windthorst. That town is also off of Hwy. 287 and also has no local police department.

Here's how the rest of the Texoma towns ranked on the list:

1. Harrold

2. Bellevue

3. Windthorst

4. Oklaunion

5. Bowie

6. Forestburg

7. Iowa Park

8. Saint Jo

9. Henrietta

10. Nocona

11. Holliday

12. Jacksboro

13. Quanah

14. Graham

15. Crowell

16. Electra

17. Burkburnett

18. Archer City

19. Throckmorton

20. Seymour

21. Olney

22. Wichita Falls

23. Vernon

24. Knox City

25. Benjamin

26. Munday

27. Petrolia

 

Tanya De Jesus, Newschannel 6

 

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