Connecticut Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and Texas Gov. Rick Perry squared off on gun control issues on Sunday, continuing a debate that began last year.
The two chief executives appeared on CNN with Indiana Gov. Mike Pence and Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon on Sunday. Governors gathered in Washington, D.C., for a meeting of the National Governors Association.
Malloy, a Democrat who pushed through the legislature sweeping changes in state gun laws last year, spoke in favor of stronger background checks of potential gun buyers and said Washington, D.C., has not done enough.
"I think we have a federal problem in the sense that we are rejecting the idea that we should have tighter controls over who has a gun," he said. "Universal background checks would make everyone safer in their states and mine."
Connecticut acted after a gunman fatally shot 20 children and six educators at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown in December 2012.
Perry, a Republican, said gun manufacturers are leaving states that he said are hostile to gun rights and moving to states that promise lower taxes and less onerous regulations.
"You're seeing a shift of these manufacturers out of states that don't want them there," he said. "And I think that is an appropriate move and an appropriate conversation."
Perry traveled to Connecticut last June to court gun manufacturers, sparking debate over his state's efforts to woo gun manufacturers soon after the tougher gun restrictions were enacted.
Perry said he invited Magpul Industries Corp. of Erie, Colo., to Texas. The large producer of ammunition magazines for guns announced last month it was moving its production, distribution and shipping operations to Cheyenne, Wyo., and its headquarters to Texas, citing the company's support of "individual liberties."
Gun manufacturer Sturm, Ruger & Co. of Southport, Conn., reached a deal in August with North Carolina for an incentive package to set up shop and hire more than 470 workers.
And Italian gun maker Beretta said in January that Tennessee's support for gun rights was a major factor in its decision to build a manufacturing and research facility in a Nashville suburb.
The governors have gathered in Washington, D.C., for a meeting of the National Governors Association.