California billboards cite Uvalde shooting as reason to stay out of Texas

California billboards cite Uvalde shooting as reason to stay out of Texas
AP Photo/Jae C. Hong

A pair of billboards that have popped up in Los Angeles and San Francisco are warning Californians “don’t move to Texas,” claiming “The Texas Miracle died in Uvalde.” It’s unclear who’s behind the billboards, but there’s plenty of speculation about the intent of the message.

Images of the billboards have been posted across LA, San Francisco and Texas subreddits over the last week, causing some anger and debate.

The billboards show no party affiliation or sponsor. One theory states that the ad may have come from right-leaning Texans eager to keep liberal Californians away from their voting booths. Others thought that the message may have come from Californians in an attempt to slow an “exodus” to Texas.

I doubt that conservative Texans would be highlighting the school shooting in Uvalde in order to convince progressives not to move to the Lone Star State. It seems far more likely to me that these billboards are from a Californian, or perhaps even a gun control advocate or organization based outside of California that’s looking to make a splash in a couple of the biggest media markets in the country.

Whatever the reason, the argument (if you can even call it that) ignores one very important fact: according to an FBI report released earlier this year, it was California and not Texas that was home to the largest number of active shooter incidents in the country last year.

The report details 61 “active shooter incidents” last year, which the agency defines as “one or more individuals actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in ai populated area.” Specifically excluded are acts of self-defense, gang and drug-related shootings, and domestic incidents, as well as “crossfire as a byproduct of another criminal act”. And while gun control activists invariably point to these types of attacks as justification for their attempts to criminalize the right to keep and bear arms, the report’s data suggests that gun control doesn’t serve any sort of preventative benefit to stopping these attacks.

According to the report, the most restrictive state in the Union when it comes to gun control laws also led the way in the number of active shooter incidents. California had six such incidents last year, more than any other state, though Texas and Georgia were close behind with five such incidents reported in each state. Active shooter incidents were reported in 30 states altogether, up from 19 states in 2020, with a total of 243 Americans killed or wounded in the attacks.

California’s gun control laws haven’t produced a miraculous decline in violent crime or in active shooter incidents, but the Democrats in control in Sacramento have managed to reduce the state’s population, with many Californians choosing Texas as their next destination.

[Bill] Fulton is the director of the Kinder Institute for Urban Research at Rice University in Houston — and a former mayor of Ventura, California, but try not to hold that against him.

We asked him: Is there an exodus of people from California to Texas?

“Yes,” Fulton said. “There is something like 20 percent of the new residents of Texas come from California.”

Actually, if you look at the decade from 2010 through 2019 (the last year that Census data is available), the number is even bigger. It shows a net number of 885,000 people moving to Texas — about 303,000 of which were from California.

That means 34 percent of new Texas residents are migrating from California.

It’s perfectly understandable why both California progressives and Texas conservatives would be apprehensive about this mass migration, but I doubt that trying to scare Californians into sticking around is going to have much of an actual impact on anyone thinking about relocating. The violent crime rate in the two states is roughly the same, but at least in Texas your right to keep and bear arms in self-defense is recognized and respected in state law. In California, meanwhile, the ruling political class will do everything in its power (and a quite a few things that go well beyond their legal authority) to prevent people from exercising their Second Amendment rights. That may not be the primary factor motivating hundreds of thousands of Californians to flee to Texas, but I’m sure it matters to a good number of those looking for a better life beyond the borders of the anti-gun state they once called home.