01.16.13

Texas Calls All Gun-Toting Yanks

A strange new ad promises gun-loving New Yorkers their firearms will be safe in the Lonestar State. David Freedlander reports.

Here’s a silver lining for gun-loving New Yorkers despairing over their state’s new landmark gun-control law: Texas!

Guns
An ad sponsored by Greg Abbot. ()

An advertisement running online in the New York City and Albany area is taking advantage of the law—which bans assault weapons, limits the size of magazines and requires universal background check—to encourage people to pack up their firearms and take them deep into the heart of Texas, where no one would dare trample on your Second Amendment rights.

“WANTED,” the ad reads in a mock-up of old-style Wild West posters. “LAW ABIDING NEW YORK GUN OWNERS LOOKING FOR LOWER TAXES AND GREATER OPPORTUNITY.”

The ad is the brainchild of Greg Abbot, a three-term Republican Texas attorney general who is widely considered to be considering a run for governor in 2014 if the current governor decides not to seek re-election.

Click on the ad and you’re taken to a Facebook page hosted by Abbott’s campaign committee, with the beguiling promise that “Here in Texas, you will have the liberty and the opportunity to achieve your dreams.”

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The ad reminds readers that there is no income tax in Texas, that the state has budget surpluses and “pliant labor laws.”

 “We’ll fight like hell to protect your rights,” it intones. “You’ll also get to keep more of what you earn and use some of that extra money to buy more ammo.”

The ad comes on the same day that President Barack Obama proposed sweeping new guns laws in the wake of a mass shooting at an elementary school in Connecticut that left 26 dead, including 20 children.

“The ad is inviting New Yorkers to come to Texas because we believe that the Constitution is sacred, and there to protect Americans from whimsical and knee jerk reactions by political leaders,” said Eric Bearse, a spokesman for Abbott. “And obviously citizens of New York are facing the prospect of further restrictions on the ownership of firearms.”

“We believe it is never good a thing when politicians try to take advantage of a tragedy when the results is the trampling of constitutional rights,” he added.

Bearse declined to say how big of an ad buy the Abbott campaign was doing, calling it “sizeable.”

After The Daily Beast noted that it was not customary for states to try to poach residents from other states based on recently passed legislation, Bearse laughed and said, “it is certainly a statement that we value freedom down here, including the freedom to defend yourself.”

A spokesman for New York Governor Andrew Cuomo didn’t immediately return a request for comment.

The ad marks the second time in a week that the Lone Star State has taken pot shots at New York over guns and the economy. Addressing a conservative policy group in Austin last week, Texas Governor Rick Perry said that "I'm sure that I couldn't get all 49 other governors to admit that they would want to be Texans,” and then, referencing Cuomo's support for gun control said, "I'm thinking that Gov. Cuomo would not admit that he'd want to be a Texan."

"But if he were truthful," Perry added, "you could say that the economic climate that has allowed the state to grow and create jobs, he'd dearly love to be able to stand up and say, 'We did this in New York.' But he can't."

Gun-control supporters have come under fire in recent days in New York after a newspaper in the Hudson Valley region published a map featuring the names and addresses of licensed gun owners.

The Abbott ad featured a map too, only one of Texas that was painted all orange. And on the map were written the words, “Each dot represents a Texas gun owner.”