I'm writing a story where some agents are sent to a small town in the 80s and must work out what is going on there. However, there are no guns in the town and to prevent the agents from having an overwhelming advantage against the local people, I want to create a condition, mechanism or phenomenon that could stop guns from working. I will set some conditions about the scenario:
- The story takes place in the 1980s, so the technology involved must (at least mostly) fit that era.
- It is a small town, so while I could add some rich secret organization (because the plot is in its early stages), cheaper ways to deal with guns would be better.
- Preventing guns from working in the entire town would be perfect, but if this is not possible, preventing them from working just in closed spaces would be fine too.
- I'd like it to be as hard as possible for readers to find out how the method works.
- The point about guns not working is not a plot twist (but its cause could be) and it is well known by local people, but not by people from outside.
- The agents are common police officers and they didn't know about the gun problem until they attempted to use them.