Utah lawmaker to propose a state firearm
Utah soon could have an official state firearm: the Browning model 1911 .45-caliber handgun, designed by Utah gun maker John Moses Browning.
The Salt Lake Tribune
SALT LAKE CITY — Virtually all states have a state bird, a state flower and a state motto. Utah soon could have an official state firearm: the Browning model 1911 .45-caliber handgun, designed by Utah gun maker John Moses Browning.
State Rep. Carl Wimmer, a former police officer, a life member of the National Rifle Association and an instructor for concealed-weapons classes, wants to take a shot at creating that designation when the Legislature convenes next month. At least one anti-gun-violence group bemoans the move but sees no real harm.
"It would be very appropriate going into 2011 because it is the 100-year anniversary of the Browning model 1911," said Wimmer, a Republican. "It has a rich history. It was in every war from World War I to World War II, Korea, Vietnam and all the recent wars. It is still used by some military units and many police agencies."
When a Pennsylvania lawmaker proposed designating a state firearm there this year (to honor the Pennsylvania long rifle), news stories said that would create the first official state firearm in the country. That effort appears to have failed, so Utah could be the first.
"As to how the outside world views Utah, it again shows how Utah worships guns at all turns of the road," said Gary Sackett, of the Utah Center for the Prevention of Gun Violence.
"But it is probably true that this particular firearm has a historical place, so I don't think the bill goes to the core of what concerns us about firearm safety," he said. Wimmer said he owns a version of the gun, "and Browning was far ahead of his time with this model."
It is a single-action, semiautomatic, magazine-fed and recoil-operated handgun. It became the standard-issue side arm for U.S. armed forces from 1911 to 1985 and is still carried by some U.S. forces. It has had few changes since it was originally issued.
Browning was born in Ogden in 1855 and died in 1926. He is credited with 128 gun patents and made his first firearm at age 13 in his father's gun shop.
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