The Needles City Council on Tuesday, July 9, adopted a resolution declaring the city a “Second Amendment Sanctuary” giving direction to city officials to begin working with state representatives on legislation that would exempt the city and possibly other border cities from rules on ammunition and concealed weapon permits, among other things.

In addition to declaring support for the Second Amendment, the city resolution includes language about the flow of commerce in the Tri-state area, suggesting California’s rules make it tougher for out-of-state residents, from nearby Arizona and Nevada, to do business in Needles. California has some of the toughest gun laws in the nation. The state also has one of the nation’s lower gun-related death rates. In 2017, the last year for which data is available, about 7.9 people out of every 100,000 California residents died by gun, either in the form of homicide, suicide or accident, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. By comparison, the gun death rate was 15.8 per 100,000 in Arizona and 16.7 per 100,000 in Nevada. The national average was 12 gun deaths per 100,000 people.

Needles, city officials and many residents have two key points of contention with California’s gun rules.

First, it is illegal for California residents to cross state lines into neighboring Arizona or Nevada to purchase ammunition. The closest in-state ammo shops are 100 miles away in Blythe, or more than 140 miles away in Barstow. But stores that sell ammunition are a 15-to-20-minute drive across the river in Arizona. “That’s a long drive to go buy a bullet,” Mayor Jeff Williams said. Second, California does not recognize concealed carry permits issued outside of California. That rule creates an inconvenience for some out-of-state residents who might want to enter Needles.