SANDY HOOK, Conn. (KXAN) - If time heals all wounds, it is taking a long while in western Connecticut.
The five months that have passed after a gunman massacred 20 first-graders and 6 adults at an elementary school have done little to wash away the hurt and the loss in the village of Sandy Hook. It is safe to say business is not back to normal after the second worst massing shooting in U.S. history.
"(We are) running a special for $5 a haircut," said Nancy Richards, a downtown hair stylist as she buzzed a new customer's hair. "Anything to bring in customers. "After the shooting, it just died down."
Her boss offered up the $5 cut for the month of April. A bargain might be the only way for some shops to get by. Richards said they still feel the tragedy of the in their sales.
"Nobody was walking around," she said. "There was no laughter, nobody even wanting to come down here."
It would mean facing the facts – a memorial with the names of 20 children and six others shot dead in December at their elementary school just down the road.
"I drive by the site everyday," said Chuck Stofko, taking a break from his morning coffee at the Sandy Hook Diner. "I have three daughters who all went through that school."
In a place once so peaceful, the massacre breaks the silence there daily and makes its way to the front of the gun control fight nationwide.
"It was really hard to figure out what normal was going to look like or what it was going to feel like," Stofko said.
In the aftermath, Connecticut passed some of the strictest firearms laws in the country - limiting some guns and banning others.
Texas takes a different approach
Gov. Rick Perry says he saw those restrictions as an opportunity. And his response might be emblematic of the way Texas looks at guns and gun rights. In fact, it was the mass shootings at a Luby's cafeteria on Oct. 16, 1991, that left 24 dead that helped spur Texas' decision to allow law-abiding citizens to carry concealed handguns.
Perry believes the gun industry is predisposed to prefer the attitudes that prevail in Texas.
"A state that has a legislature that cares more about being politically correct than they do about economic development, they will pay a price in the environment that we live in today," the governor told KXAN after touring Shield Tactical, a firearms company that recently moved its operation from California to Shiner.
After the shooting and growing debate, Perry sent around 30 letters to firearms companies in states facing similar measures.
"Responding to unwarranted government intrusion into your business, you may choose to consider relocating your manufacturing operations to a state that is more business-friendly," he wrote.
"I'm from Texas, and I think it's a fantastic idea," Andy Cartright said shortly before lining up to listen to Perry address thousands at last week's National Rifle Association annual convention in Houston.
"The sooner the better, the faster - great!" said James Taylor, another participant at the NRA gathering.
Perry's hook? Low taxes, a fair legal system and financial incentives.
"But the fact is we have been doing economic development outreach," Perry said. "You can bet the state of Texas is going to reach out to you and say, 'Hey, you want to come to a place where you can be freer?'"
Perry's outreach get mixed review in Connecticut
Ask the people of Sandy Hook. Many said they understand the governor's reasoning and do not fault him for his efforts.
"On first brush, that sounds despicable," said Stofko. "What do I think about that? I think that's Rick Perry being Rick Perry."
Perry is no stranger to the Second Amendment. The NRA darling once shot a coyote on his morning jog.
He recently gathered Remington executives for a quick pic on Twitter, as he held one of their new weapons proudly. His NRA convention introduction included a much-talked-about video of the governor shooting an egg at LaRue Tactical in Leander.
And in a press conference last month following an explosion at a fertilizer plant, he donned a white shirt stitched with the "Come and Take It" cannon symbol of the 1835 Battle of Gonzales during the Texas Revolution.
"We want to invite you. If you're not already here, you consider coming to the place that still loves freedom."
Perry's approach is not unlike Nancy Richards' in Sandy Hook.
"Any new business is a good thing...no matter what happens," she said, pointing to the marker board displaying the $5 haircut.
The governor is doing what he can to attract companies. Richards is doing the same thing for customers.
"It's been working out, so far," she smiled.
Perry and a handful of other lawmakers are seeing success in their efforts to attract gun makers. Colt Competition is relocating from Connecticut. Shield Tactical held its grand opening last week in Shiner. And a company called Tracking Point will open in Pflugerville this fall.
However, the firearms industry is already booming in Texas. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco,
Firearms and Explosives listed about 150 gun manufacturers 2011 - everything from one-man operations to larger companies.
With more companies possibly moving to the state, these smaller manufacturers might be in for some steep competition.
"There's already a fair amount of small shops here," said Matt Bettersworth, owner of the 13-employee custom gun business Hill Country Rifles Company in New Braunfels. "As long as the quality's there, everything will take care of itself."
Perry said competition is good, no matter the industry.
"Competition may be uncomfortable, but it will make you better," he added.
The freezing and near-freezing rain that swooped into Central Texas overnight prompted numerous school closings and delays and made for a harrowing morning commute on Friday.
A man is expected to survive after being stabbed in the head at the Salvation Army shelter in Downtown Austin at about 3:45 a.m. Friday.
As the Austin area prepares itself for an impending winter storm on Friday, Dec. 6, many schools have already announced delays.
With freezing temperatures pushing through the region, heating systems will likely be working overtime, which can bring rising energy bills.
Investigators are looking into an overnight fire that left one woman with third-degree burns.
Caldwell County residents gathered Thursday evening to organize their fight against a proposed landfill that they say poses a hazard that they don't need.