Texas Smells a Business Opportunity in Newtown Massacre

On the heels of Connecticut's post-Newtown push to restrict assault weapons, a Texas tea party congressman has plans to send form letters to Yankee gunmakers, goading them to move their operations to the Lone Star State.

"I encourage you to relocate to Texas, where we can provide a business-friendly environment that encourages innovation and understands the right to bear arms," Republican Rep. Blake Farenthold writes in the as-yet unsent form letter, a copy of which was provided to Gawker by a congressional staffer (see full text below). "We look forward to calling y'all Texans!"

Attracting major gun manufacturers from liberal-leaning Connecticut would be a coup for the relatively quiet Farenthold, a onetime conservative talk-radio host who won his House seat in the tea party wave of 2010—and whose largest previous media splash also came that year, when photos surfaced of him in PJs with a scantily clad woman who was not his wife.

A representative from Farenthold's office acknowledged the letter's existence, but was surprised to hear that a copy had made it out into the open. "Let me try to get back to you," she said.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry is reportedly 100 percent behind the campaign to lure gun makers from Connecticut, the home to a bevy of weapons factories since Samuel Colt mass-produced his first revolvers in Hartford in the 1840s. Many of America's other large gun manufacturers, including Ruger and Mossberg, call Connecticut home. The state had reportedly been working to bring Bushmaster in, too, until one of the firm's AR-15s was used by mass-killer Adam Lanza at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

Perry "has been reaching out to firearms manufacturers and makers of associated products" quite heavily since the fallout from the Newtown shootings, says spokeswoman Lucy Nashed.

Perry has sent his own letter of enticement, also included below, to "about 30 companies around the country," Nashed says, adding that the governor's message is simple: "If you are in a state that's considering tightening regulations, you should come to Texas."

Full text of the Farenthold form letter:

Dear Insert Company Name:

In Texas, we are committed to protecting our right under the constitution to own and use guns. My fellow Congressmen and I urge you to consider relocating your firearms manufacturing facilities to Texas. We are also committed to being a business friendly state with low taxes and reasonable regulations.

As home to half of all the private sector jobs created over the last decade nationwide, Texas has shown, time and again, to be the country's leader in job creation. Our state is open for business, whether it's manufacturing firearms, developing new technologies, or pursuing other business opportunities.

The business-friendly environment in Texas prompted CEO Magazine to name Texas the best state in the nation for doing business, eight years in a row. Texas lawmakers have paved the way for business through reasonable regulations, low taxes, a skilled workforce, cutting-edge infrastructure and the advantage of being a right to work state.

Our governor is committed to providing advantages for manufacturers looking to relocate through initiatives like cash grants, low-interest loans, employee training programs and sales tax exemptions. You can see these business-savvy methods at work as our growth rate is double the national average, and from 2002-2011, we created nearly a third of the country's highest paying jobs.

Under the Texas model, we have proven that economic growth is a key to solving our fiscal problems. We make it easy to do business and assist job creators and do not impose unnecessary restrictions and regulations.

We're getting things right in the Texas state, and I'm working hard every day to show my colleagues in Washington how our nation could benefit from following the Texas model. I encourage you to relocate to Texas, where we can provide a business-friendly environment that encourages innovation and understands the right to bear arms. We look forward to calling y'all Texans!

Perry's letter:

[Image via Getty]