Gov. Rick Perry on Friday invited a gun manufacturer that has announced its intention to leave Connecticut to set up shop in Texas.
Bristol-based rifle manufacturer PTR said in a statement posted on its website this week that it has not decided where it will move, but has commitments from most employees to relocate.
The company, which employs more than 40 people, cited the "unintended consequences" of Connecticut's newly-passed gun control legislation as the reason for the anticipated move. Perry took to Twitter Friday to encourage the company to relocate to the Lone Star State. "Hey PTR...Texas is still wide open for business...come on down!," the tweet read.
Perry told MyFoxAustin.com he hopes to encourage gun manufacturers affected by gun restrictions in other states to relocate.
"There is still a place where freedom is very much alive and well -- freedom from over-taxation, freedom from over-regulation, freedom from over-litigation...and that place is called Texas," Perry told the station.
PTR Vice President John McNamara said the company expects to make a more formal announcement about a move within six weeks.
On Tuesday, the Texas Senate gave preliminary approval to a bill encouraging Perry's office to recruit gun manufacturers to Texas.
The bill by Sen. Craig Estes, R-Wichita Falls would formally add incentive programs for gun manufacturers to the state's economic development law.
"I think it's important that this body express their views," Estes said, noting the companies would bring jobs and economic development to Texas.
"We want every job we can recruit to Texas. We're asking the governor to utilize his power to bring jobs ... There's an opportunity in the present climate in the United States to attract good paying jobs. It's all about being competitive."
Perry already sent letters to more than 30 out-of-state firearms and accessories manufacturers, notably in states such as Colorado that have passed or are considering new control laws. Texas Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz also have put the call out to gun makers to relocate to Texas, including Beretta U.S.A in Maryland.
In March, Colorado's governor signed a bill placing new restrictions on firearms, including required background checks for private and online gun sales and a ban on ammunition magazines that hold more than 15 rounds. One Colorado-based manufacturer of ammunition magazines disclosed plans to relocate because of the new restrictions. But Texas isn't alone. Several states have launched similar recruitment efforts.
Estes said the Texas has previously targeted aerospace and technology industries as business it wanted to attract. Several Democrats questioned whether the bill was necessary considering the governor is already courting gun makers and has a Legislature-approved business incentive fund.
Sen. Royce West, D-Dallas, asked if Texas should be encouraging more grocery stores to open in the state.
"We have a lot of areas in the state without any grocery stores," West said.
Estes said new gun factories could spur the sort of jobs and economic development that could encourage more grocery chains to open stores.
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