Utah may adopt a state gun
Utah is trying to adopt the Browning M1911 handgun as its state gun 100 years after the U.S. Army began using it.
January 26th, 2011
06:38 PM ET

Utah may adopt a state gun

Utah has a state flower, a state fossil, a state cooking pot and 21 other official symbols. It might soon add a state gun.

The state House passed a measure Wednesday, by a 51-19 vote, that would make the Browning M1911 pistol - designed by Utah’s John Moses Browning in the early 20th century - the state firearm. The bill now goes to the state Senate.

The bill's sponsor, Republican Rep. Carl Wimmer, has said the measure aims to honor Browning. His M1911 was used as a standard U.S. Army sidearm from 1911 to 1985, according to the Browning manufacturing company's website and Jane's Infantry Weapons.



The measure has attracted criticism from anti-gun activists and some state House members. Some lawmakers argued in debate Wednesday that it was insensitive after the January 8 shooting in Tucson, Arizona, that killed six and wounded 13, including U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, according to The Salt Lake Tribune.

One state lawmaker, Democratic Rep. Carol Moss, said during Wednesday's debate on the House floor that in addition to her concerns regarding the Arizona shooting, she was worried that children would see things such as coloring books featuring the gun along with the other state symbols, the Tribune reported.

Steve Gunn of the Gun Violence Prevention Center told CNN affiliate KSL last month - before the Tuscon shooting - that he thought the proposal was in bad taste.

"I would nominate arsenic as our state poison, because, of course arsenic is often a byproduct of our state mining industry," Gunn sarcastically told KSL in December.

Wimmer told KSL this week that "this pistol is Utah," and its history "is emblazoned on our state." He added that rather than gloryfying an implement of death, as he said some critics charged, "we're glorifying an implement of freedom that has defended us for 100 years."

During Wednesday's debate, one lawmaker suggested erecting a statue of Browning instead, but Wimmer countered that his plan was the only way to honor the gun designer without costing taxpayers, the Tribune reported.

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Filed under: Utah
soundoff (318 Responses)
  1. Philip

    Only an idiot would pull out his gun on a gangster trying to rob him and his wife. They travel in packs, hence "gang". By the time you pulled your gun, you would have 7 bullet holes in your back, and then they would have their way with your wife. An intelligent man hands over wallet and wife's purse, and politely writes down his PIN for them. And has a story to tell his grandkids.

    January 27, 2011 at 1:30 am | Report abuse |
    • Ben

      Yeah Phillip because gangsters that do home invasions never shoot the victims.

      January 27, 2011 at 2:57 am | Report abuse |
  2. johnrj08

    Doesn't Utah have a bad enough reputation without this inexplicable decision? How pathetic is it when a state feels the need to make a celebrity out of a deadly weapon. When a person has a gun in his or her possession, it becomes a problem solving option. Human beings will utilize whatever means they have at their disposal to exact revenge or express rage. If they don't have access to a gun, they may use other weapons, such as knives, which are much more personal and require a measure of physical strength. A gun only requires a trigger finger and a moment of anger to cause the kind of brutal mayhem we've seen all too many times in our society. It is very difficult to penetrate a human skull with a knife. It's as easy as flicking a fly off the wall with a gun. And a semi-automatic, magazine-fed handgun is capable of killing more than 30 people in a matter of seconds. So this argument that people kill people, not guns, makes me ill.

    January 27, 2011 at 1:37 am | Report abuse |
  3. Dan

    To paraphrase the NRA: Guns don't defend freedom. People defend freedom.

    January 27, 2011 at 1:40 am | Report abuse |
  4. Mel

    Guns contribute to less that 1% of all self-defense killings.

    Come up with an excuse for your twisted gun-fetish that can be validated by facts.

    And I don't care if someone does break into your house. Your television and stupid blu-ray player isn't worth a life. Let it go.

    January 27, 2011 at 1:43 am | Report abuse |
    • Don

      Did it ever occur to you that the someone that breaks into your house could possibly have a desire to take your life as well?

      January 27, 2011 at 1:49 am | Report abuse |
    • SteveG

      Poor logic. Most uses of firearms for self-defense do not involve firing a shot. Even those that do often don't result in the death of the perpetrator.

      January 27, 2011 at 2:51 am | Report abuse |
  5. Philip

    Had our founding fathers envisioned the unimaginable amount of todays Americans murdering fellow Americans, they would have limited our right to bear arms to long arms (rifles) only. (duh)

    January 27, 2011 at 1:46 am | Report abuse |
    • S&W

      And you know his how? Were you there when it was wrote?

      January 27, 2011 at 2:18 am | Report abuse |
    • Sam

      Don't be absurd! In the 18th century the founders of the United States lived in or near wild untamed frontiers, where violence was far more common than today. I think it would indeed be instructive to ask George Washington or James Madison which they would rather have in their coat pocket when confronted by half a dozen knife and club wielding highwaymen: A single shot flintlock pistol that would take close to a minute to reload (as they and most other gentlemen of the day did carry) or a modern handgun that is more accurate, more reliable, and which can be fired and reloaded with what they would consider amazing speed. I have no doubt of what their answer would be!

      January 27, 2011 at 2:49 am | Report abuse |
    • Patrick Falcon

      The problem with banning handguns, while keeping rifles (and shotguns?) legal, is that long guns are far more effective weapons than handguns. That's why handguns are almost never primary weapons on the battlefield. If we successfully got the bad guys to shift over to long guns, the murder rate would go up, because more people who were attacked would die.

      January 27, 2011 at 2:17 pm | Report abuse |
  6. sam

    If you look at all the posts on here the ones who claim intelligence over everybody else are the ones who do nothing but berate condescend and use some of the nastiest language. That's right liberals I'm talking to you. When you can't win an argument you are the first to resort to name calling. Get off your high horse. The political leanings you have take root with Marx. What was it said about colonel samuel colt? "God made man colonel colt made them equal"? Bravo to Utah for honoring the handgun of american freedom!

    January 27, 2011 at 1:49 am | Report abuse |
    • Don

      I agree, none of them really know what they're talking about and mostly do personal attacks on the whole group of firearm owners as a whole. Thank goodness for someone who doesn't have a condescending ego. I was beginning to lose faith in humanity for a second there...

      January 27, 2011 at 1:51 am | Report abuse |
  7. Philip

    @BB...pulling a gun during a robbery will get you killed rather than robbed. They always have others watching their backs when they rob you. hence "gangs".

    January 27, 2011 at 1:51 am | Report abuse |
    • Don

      You've been watching movies quite a lot haven't you? It is not ALWAYS a gang in a robbery. Quite often it could be a one person trying to break in. Regardless, gun owners do NOT rely on their gun all day all night. In gun defense classes it's often ADVOCATED to give up their wallet if is possible to do so safely. When the robbers decide they want to kill though, when they're in a room full of what appears to be unarmed, note unarmed, people they really do have a lot of power of them...before you suggest only allowing long arms, which would rule out having a firearm there in the first place meaning little power/little chance turns into no power/no chance for the victim if the robbery does turn violent.

      January 27, 2011 at 1:57 am | Report abuse |
  8. Philip

    The right to bear arms was a provision made for US should our Federal Government try to force it's will on our home State. A handgun is NOT what they had in mind. And isn't it odd that gangsters and gun-toters prefer the same weapons? Cut from the same cloth: paranoid ignorance.

    January 27, 2011 at 1:58 am | Report abuse |
    • Erasmus

      Yes, I'm sure you know exactly what the founders had in mind back then. You know, after they fought off a superiorly armed totalitarian state. Surely you've gone through the same trials and tribulations in your life to produce this enhanced understanding.

      As for you comment of the gun of choice, if there were no handguns in existence, do you think that the 'gangsters' would all of a sudden be ever so peaceful? People will gravitate to the weapons they can get their hands on. While I wish it wasn't so, look at human history. Attempting to idealize humankind doesn't make it so.

      January 27, 2011 at 2:09 am | Report abuse |
    • SteveG

      Cops prefer handguns too...so much for your analogy.

      January 27, 2011 at 2:54 am | Report abuse |
  9. hmmm

    I am not for the restriction of guns, but this is just pointless. This just looks like it is antagonizing the current media frenzy

    January 27, 2011 at 2:04 am | Report abuse |
  10. Philip

    @Don...surely you don't keep a loaded handgun in your home. By the time you get your gun out of the locked cabinet and load it, you are dead. Even if it is just one criminal, he has the drop on you. (I've never owned a TV, and have watched fewer movies in my life than you did last year)

    January 27, 2011 at 2:05 am | Report abuse |
    • Don

      A firearm meant for home defense should be loaded in the situation that you need to bring it out. I don't know about how your house is set up but it will take a lot of noise for a criminal to break in. Even if he has the drop on me, should it happen that the robbery turns violent having a firearm means having a chance, a small chance, but better than no chance. Same goes for a gang robbery, it tips the scale in your favor even if only a little bit. You say it is paranoid ignorance but if I were to bring up your point that the I will need a firearms for when the government enforces martial law (not that I'm ruling out that event) or I say I need a firearm for a home defense role randomly in a debate, I'm most likely going to be called paranoid for stating the former rather than the latter.

      January 27, 2011 at 2:17 am | Report abuse |
    • Don

      In the situation that there are children though, I could understand keeping the ammunition and the firearm separate and locked, however it is still there and should be accessible even in that case. (It should not take long to undo a lock)

      January 27, 2011 at 2:21 am | Report abuse |
  11. Philip

    @Joe...if one breaks into my home to rob me, I will help him rid my house of whatever material posession I own. If for even one second I think he wants my wife or daughter, he better be a good shot. Do you keep a loaded handgun outside of your gun locker in defiance of proper gun handling/common sense?

    January 27, 2011 at 2:16 am | Report abuse |
    • Tom

      "Phillip" I keep a loaded hand gun 24/7 on my side. I always wear it. I have 2 boys 9 and 13 in the house also. They know about firearms and are taught about them. I will defend my family. I am also a citzen soldier for my country and also a veteran. Everyone should serve a minimum time in the military. Does the body good.

      January 27, 2011 at 5:06 am | Report abuse |
  12. Philip

    @Erasmus...do you keep a loaded handgun outside your gun locker too?

    January 27, 2011 at 2:19 am | Report abuse |
  13. Sam

    My gun is no more likely to kill someone by itself than my car is. However, my gun can protect me from those who would do me harm. My gun can put food on my table. My gun can allow me to walk down the dark street unafraid. Most of all, my gun, and those of my fellow citizens, means WE THE PEOPLE are the soverign power in these United States, just as the founders of this nation intended.

    January 27, 2011 at 2:21 am | Report abuse |
    • PH

      I'm a little confused by all the folks who say a gun's only purpose is to kill someone. I have had countless hours of fun with family and friends target shooting. This fun, combined with the fact that these same guns could protect myself or my family if needed, makes legal and responsible gun ownership a "win/win" IMHO.......

      January 27, 2011 at 10:05 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Nom

    Sweet. I think the 1911 is an excellent choice. Superb, a truly classic firearm.

    January 27, 2011 at 2:22 am | Report abuse |
  15. DirtyBob

    Gun murders only amount for half of our murders. Seems like we don't need guns to kill each other. The murder rate has been steadily dropping for quite some time as well, all with the number of guns growing. Knee jerk reactions don't solve anything.

    January 27, 2011 at 2:28 am | Report abuse |
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