Tombstone, Arizona – known in western lore as “The Town Too Tough to Die” – has a second slogan thanks to the mayor and city council, and one that ought to please gun rights activists and western history buffs: “America’s Second Amendment City.”
According to KOLD News 13 in Tucson, Tombstone Mayor Dustin L. “Dusty” Escapule signed a proclamation Tuesday declaring the famous mining town’s new status.
“We are going to honor the Second Amendment because Tombstone is a gun town,” Mayor Escapule told a reporter. “There is no doubt about it.”
There is no small amount of irony in all of this, but now, more than 135 years after the event that forever put Tombstone in America’s history books, one might consider it more amusing than distasteful.
The famous gunfight for which Tombstone is known happened, at least in part, because of a gun control ordinance. The story has been told in popular films, including “Gunfight at the OK Corral,” “Wyatt Earp,” and, of course, “Tombstone.”
On Oct. 26, 1881, lawman brothers Wyatt, Virgil and Morgan Earp, along with their associate John H. “Doc” Holliday, faced off in an empty lot next to Fly’s photography studio against cowboys Ike and Billy Clanton, Frank and Tom McLaury and Billy Claiborne. In the short course of 30 seconds, they were immortalized, along with the town, thanks to the gun battle that erupted when the Earps moved to disarm the cowboys for violating a town ordinance against the carrying of firearms.
The McLaurys and Billy Clanton were killed. Ike Clanton and Claiborne fled. Morgan, Virgil and Holliday were wounded.
Wyatt Earp didn’t suffer a scratch. Thanks largely to author Stuart Lake and Hollywood, he became a legend as a frontier marshal.
Mention Tombstone anywhere in the civilized world, it would seem, and people know what the place is. The one-time mining camp has the mythic proportions of Camelot, except that Tombstone actually exists and the shootout that forever cemented its place in history is part of the public record.
Escapule told the news crew that Tombstone is the only town in the country with the distinction of being a “Second Amendment City.” The place is now as gun-friendly as it gets, with reenactments of the famous afternoon gunfight for tourists from all over the world.
What has become known as the “Gunfight at the OK Corral” didn’t even happen in the corral. The battle has been portrayed – often with abundant dramatic misrepresentation – in more movies than one might count.
The mayor said this new slogan came about thanks to suggestions from local business owners some weeks ago. One businessman, Gordon Anderson, observed, “It’s ground breaking and it’s thrilling.
We are under fire by different anti-gun groups and this kind of cements our position here in Tombstone.”
Another Tombstone resident, identified as Lee Cobb, had this to say: “It fits. It fits this town because of the history. You can conceal carry or open carry. We’ve always had it down here. So it’s just the American way.”
A third resident, Eric Sudhoff, added, “It feels good that we’re supporting our constitutional rights- the way they should be supported.”
According to KOLD, here’s the proclamation that has put Tombstone on the map a second time:
WHEREAS, the Declaration of Independence state that people are “endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, and;”
WHEREAS, the Constitution of the United States is the Supreme Law of the Land, and;
WHEREAS, the Second Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America states: “A well-regulated Militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the People to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed, and;
WHEREAS, the Supreme Court, in the District of Columbia v. Heller decision, affirmed that the right to keep and bear arms is unconnected to any service in a militia, and;
WHEREAS, City Council of Tombstone hereby proclaims the rights of the people to keep and bear arms as originally understood; in self-defense and preservation, and in defense of our community and country, and;
NOW THEREFORE, I, Dustin L. Escapule, do hereby proclaim that from this date forward, Tombstone shall be known as “America’s Second Amendment City” in full support of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States.
APPROVED AND ADOPTED this 10th , day of January, 2017.