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Gun control backfires? Rick Perry lures Connecticut gunmakers to Texas. (+video)

Strong gun control laws were recently passed in Connecticut and New York, so Gov. Rick Perry will visit gunmakers in both states this week to try to bring them to gun-friendly Texas.

By Staff writer / June 16, 2013

Mark Malkowski, owner of Stag Arms in New Britain, Conn., talks last month about his company's newly designed Stag-22, a weapon he says will be legal in the state of Connecticut, despite new gun control laws. Gun control advocates say the move violates the spirit of the new law.

Jim Shannon/The Republican-American/AP

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The shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., have brought into high relief one of the anachronisms of the American economy: Some of the biggest and most influential makers of firearms in the United States are located in some of its bluest – and most antigun – states.

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That is a fact that Gov. Rick Perry (R) of Texas hopes to turn to his advantage this week.

He is scheduled to visit Colt's Manufacturing, which has been in Connecticut since 1847, and Mossberg & Sons of North Haven, Conn., the largest maker of shotguns in the US, among other manufacturers and suppliers in Connecticut and New York.

The visits are the most public move in discussions that have been ongoing for some time, officials say. "We've been reaching out to them via letters and the governor's talked on the phone to some of them," Lucy Nashed, the governor's spokeswoman, told the Connecticut Post. "This is something he's been doing for a long time – talking to companies in different states."

Forcing the issue are sweeping gun-control measures passed first by New York then by Connecticut in response to the Sandy Hook shootings. When Connecticut lawmakers were considering the bills in March, Colt shut down manufacturing for a day and bused 400 workers to the statehouse in a show of force. Other manufacturers did the same.

“We exhausted ourselves testifying during public sessions at the state capital, reaching out to journalists, busing our employees to Hartford and more, but in the end it didn’t matter. They wrote the bill in secret,” Mark Malkowski, president of Stag Arms in New Britain, Conn., told Forbes.

The tone of Gov. Dannel Malloy (D) has frayed the state's relationship with gunmakers further. Speaking on CNN's "State of the Union" after he signed the bill, Governor Malloy said: "What this is about is the ability of the gun industry to sell as many guns to as many people as possible – even if they are deranged, even if they are mentally ill, even if they have a criminal background. They don’t care. They want to sell guns.”

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