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“Texas is better than New York, and New York just gave us another excuse to say that,” Abbott, a Republican, said on Thursday, after ads extolling Texas appeared on several media websites.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, signed sweeping gun-control legislation earlier this week expanding the state’s ban on assault weapons and putting limits on ammunition capacity in the wake of last month’s school shootings in Connecticut.
Abbott, a possible candidate for governor of Texas in next year’s election, used campaign money to buy ads on websites of news organizations in New York City and Albany.
One ad says in classic Western script: “WANTED: Law abiding New York gun owners seeking lower taxes and greater opportunities.”
Clicking on the ad leads to a Facebook page touting the virtues of Texas, including the fact that the state has no income tax so “you’ll be able to keep more of what you earn and use that extra money to buy more ammo.”
Abbott told Reuters the ads are a “way to tweak our liberal friends up in the Northeast.”
“It is tongue in cheek, but there is a deeper message here,” he said. “Texas really does stand as the last bastion of ultimate freedom in this country. Over the last decade, more than 4 million people moved to this state, and one reason is freedom and one reason is economic opportunity.”
Abbott has said he will file a federal lawsuit to throw out any nationwide gun restrictions implemented by Congress.
A Cuomo spokesman did not immediately respond to an emailed request for comment.