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. JeanClaudeVanDarn

    There may be a law on the books in Mexico prohibiting gun possession, but it's quite clear la policia es muey caca de pollo.

    January 26, 2011 at 11:40 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Migrane

    eduardo is back time to leave!

    January 26, 2011 at 11:42 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Sick of Him

    Can't Carl Wimmer EVER find anything better to do?! Man, this guy is a media hound!!! I, unfortunately, live in his district, and I am embarrassed to have to admit it. I voted against him last election, and I'll do it again despite being a staunch Republican. He's ALWAYS promoting stupid legislation each session like this (and to address the weird, one-off things that happen once every 100 years that we shouldn't bother to have laws about.) Sure, he has some good bills, but then he chases dumb crap like this, too, and he wants his name on TV as often as possible. He thinks he should be a US Congressman - heaven help us all if that happens! He is one of the biggest ZEALOT representatives in ALL of Utah. (Now that's SCARY if you understand the Utah Legislature!) Anyone want to guess if he's had campaign donations from Browning Corp, hmmmm...?!

    January 26, 2011 at 11:44 pm | Report abuse |
  4. deetee

    Please don't judge all Utahns by the utahrds in our legislature....

    January 26, 2011 at 11:46 pm | Report abuse |
  5. E

    Call me nuts, but why a state gun? If you want to honor the man, have a statue made. However, a state gun right after the Arizona shooting? Uhhh... did politicians in Utah just forget that that happened? Again, make a statue, open a museum exhibit, whatever, but don't set some precedent of portraying a gun as a state symbol. That'll open the flood gates if you ask me... Oh man, I can see it now. "North Carolina and their new state symbol... the race car!" Please no.

    January 26, 2011 at 11:48 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Erik

    I think both sides have excellent points. The 1911 pistol designed by John Browning is a true American classic with a rich heritage and the people of Utah should be proud of that. It is merely in bad taste at the present time in the wake of the Tucson shooting to propose something like this. Representative Wimmer should be ashamed of himself for being so tactless. He probably jumped the gun (no pun intended) because some other representative would've done the same thing after not too long.

    January 26, 2011 at 11:49 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Laura

    Honor the person, not the object

    January 26, 2011 at 11:50 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Sick of Him

    Good point, Laura!

    January 26, 2011 at 11:51 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Philip

    @Laura, well stated and concise I might add. Principles come before personalities though. I wonder what principle Utah might honor.

    January 26, 2011 at 11:54 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Jack Be Humble

    The Browning Assault Rifle (known as the BAR) is almost as important to firearm history as this gun. The prototype was available at the time of The Great War US deployment, but the US govt decided against sending it with our troops, fearing the technology would fall into the wrong hands. It saw use though from WWII through Viet Nam.

    January 26, 2011 at 11:55 pm | Report abuse |
  11. AAPLDoc

    Happiness is a warm gun...

    January 26, 2011 at 11:56 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Eric

    While the M1911 may have had an illustrious history as an "implement of freedom", we need to remember that this pistol was originally adopted to suppress Moro guerrillas in the Philippines who were fighting for their own freedom from the US.

    January 26, 2011 at 11:58 pm | Report abuse |
  13. marin

    Don't state legislatures have more important things to be debating and voting on than a STATE GUN????

    January 26, 2011 at 11:59 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Edie46

    State Gun? Make sure its registered! Next try to adopt a state bullet go go with the state gun or maybe a state bow and arrow.

    January 27, 2011 at 12:04 am | Report abuse |
  15. JeanClaudeVanDarn

    @AR: Very good point. If the US banned weapons the only ones with guns would be criminals. It would be a turkey shoot.

    January 27, 2011 at 12:04 am | Report abuse |
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