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Texas governor to Connecticut gun maker: "Come on down"

Texas Governor Rick Perry speaks at a memorial service for Kaufman County district attorney Mike McLelland and his wife Cynthia in Sunnyvale
Texas Governor Rick Perry speaks at a memorial service for Kaufman County district attorney Mike McLelland and his wife Cynthia in Sunnyvale

By Corrie MacLaggan

AUSTIN, Texas (Reuters) - Texas Governor Rick Perry on Friday said a gun manufacturer that has decided to leave Connecticut should "come on down" to the Lone Star State.

PTR Industries, a maker of military-style rifles, threatened to leave Connecticut after the passage of one of the toughest gun-control laws in the United States. Connecticut enacted the measure in the wake of the Newtown school shooting that killed 20 first-graders and six adults.

"Hey, PTR," Perry posted on Twitter on Friday. "Texas is still wide open for business!! Come on down!"

The Connecticut law bans high-capacity ammunition clips of the kind used in the December school shooting and adds to the firearms covered by the state's assault-weapons ban.

A second Connecticut gun company, Stag Arms, a maker of AR-15 style rifles, is also threatening to leave the state. The companies are being wooed by officials from gun-friendlier states such as Florida and Arkansas, as well as Texas.

"We want to send a message that Texas is wide open for business, whether you're a weapons manufacturer or whether you're a tubular steel manufacturer," Perry told reporters in Austin on Friday.

"There is still a place for freedom that is very much alive and well," the Republican governor added. "That place is called Texas."

He is not the only politician seeking to lure people to Texas by pointing to the state's welcoming attitude toward guns.

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, a possible Republican candidate for governor in 2014, earlier this year used campaign money to buy ads on websites of news organizations in New York encouraging gun owners there to move to Texas.

Abbott's ads came after New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, signed sweeping gun-control legislation expanding the state's ban on assault weapons and putting limits on ammunition capacity.

Perry and U.S. Senator Ted Cruz of Texas are expected to be on hand when the National Rifle Association holds its upcoming annual meeting in Texas this year. The event begins May 3 in Houston.

(Reporting By Corrie MacLaggan; Editing by Leslie Adler)

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