Utah Declares Browning Automatic Pistol M1911 the Official State Firearm!

April 12, 2011

I usually don’t post news items but this is just too good to leave behind!!

Utah Declares Browning Automatic Pistol M1911 the Official State Firearm!
by Bentley Gates
04/12/2011

While President Obama pondered his March Madness brackets instead of keeping eye on world problems, Utah beat Arizona. No, not in college basketball, but in the race to become the first US state to declare an official state firearm.

Yes, joining the Rocky Mountain Elk (official state animal) and copper (official state mineral) as official state designees, Utah has recognized the Browning Automatic Pistol M1911 as the official state firearm. Gov. Gary Herbert signed the act honoring the pistol. Utah is the first state to legislate such a designation.

Arizona’s bill to designate the Colt Single Action Army .45 caliber revolver as their official state firearm is still pending legislative action. Endorsed by over forty state legislators, the act would recognize the revolver’s role in the history of Arizona and the Old West.

Alaska, not to be outdone, also introduced legislation to designate a state firearm. State Senator Charlie Huggins (R-Wasilla, AK) together with Sen. Kathy Geissel (R-Anchorage, AK) introduced the legislation. It was referred to committee per senate rules.

Utah chose the M1911 as their official state firearm in recognition that John Moses Browning was born in Utah in 1855 and in 1879 while working in his father’s gun shop Browning received the first of over 128 gun patents he would be awarded. Browning’s inventions changed forever the design of automatic weapons. His revolutionary gas blowback design has influenced gun designers worldwide, essentially ending mechanical recoil systems.

Former police officer and Utah state legislator, Rep. Carl Wimmer (R-Harriman, UT), the bill’s author, indicates the M1911 was selected as it served for so long as a personal protection weapon, both in military and civilian roles. Wimmer believes it is fitting that the act was passed in March 2011, marking the 100th anniversary of the adoption of the pistol by the US Army. Wimmer also notes that the Browning Arms Company is headquartered in Utah, although owned since 1977 by FN of Belgium. John Moses Browning was born in Utah after his gunsmith father moved from Illinois to Utah.

Critics of the legislation cite the recent tragedy in Arizona as reasons the state should not adopt an official state firearm at this time, but Wimmer replies we should learn our lessons from the Tucson event and move forward. Another supporter, Rep. Stephen Sandstrom (R-Orem, UT) noted a firearm never jumped from the floor and started shooting someone; it requires a person to pull the trigger. He contends the bill honors both the firearm and the inventor.

Utah has won the race to be first to designate an official state firearm. Arizona and Alaska vie for the recognition as the second. Is it possible that other states could join these in recognizing the role guns have had in the history of their states?

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