A state gun?


There are two debate topics which have special heat among my European friends: the death penalty, and gun ownership. In general I have defended gun ownership, because I’m a western American who was taught proper gun handling, safety and ethics by a good and honorable mentor. I have owned revolvers and held a concealed carry permit. I have no issues with responsible gun ownership.

But I do have issues with political stupidity and tone-deafness. And this latest news out of Utah hits both of those lows:

State lawmakers are debating whether to designate a semiautomatic pistol as the official gun of Utah, despite protests from people who believe it’s inappropriate because of recent mass shootings.

The bill to make the Browning M1911 the official gun breezed through a committee hearing this week and is scheduled to be debated by the full House as early as Wednesday.

Republican Rep. Carl Wimmer said the state should have the gun as one of its state symbols to honor John Browning, a Utah native who invented it in 1911.

Now, it’s true that US states love to have various state symbols. My own home state has a state tree, flower, bird, fish, animal, insect, song, mushroom, rock, fossil and even a state snail (the Oregon hairy triton, if you’re curious). But we don’t have a state gun, nor should we. That’s stepping into a swamp that normal folks with an ounce of common sense would stay away from.

Rep. Wimmer says he’s been considering this idea for a year, and “there is nothing about the actions of a madman to change the fact that firearms have been used throughout our history to defend American values and traditions.”

Whenever anyone uses the term “American values” or its sister phrase, “family values,” my radar goes off. Those terms have been relentlessly flogged and abused in order to justify idiocy, self-aggrandizement, and too often, outright viciousness against other people in my country. Yes, handguns have been used throughout American history, but does Rep. Wimmer really want his state to be nationally known for a gun? If he’d like to test the political tone of his proposal, perhaps he should consider substituting a word. How does a vote for a state bullet sound?

Stupid? Exactly. And Rep. Wimmer, I’ll remember this the next time a politician protests that we can’t spend valuable legislative time considering such things as equal marriage rights when there are far more important issues at hand, like the economy. From now on my question will be, “Is that more or less important than deciding on a state gun?”

(Photo of a Browning M1911 courtesy of Wikipedia.)


About Fletcher DeLancey

Socialist heathen and Mac-using author of the Chronicles of Alsea, who enjoys pondering science, politics, well-honed satire (though sarcastic humor can work, too) and all things geeky.
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8 Responses to A state gun?

  1. chase cameron says:

    OMG, this is indeed stupid. A State gun. In Utah. Really, Jersey I understand, but UTAH??

  2. Linda Briganti says:

    Wimmer’s proposal should be “shot down” but it is not likely to happen in Idaho. In my part of the world W. Virginia/Virginia there is endless paranoid talk along the lines of “Obama wants to take our guns away.” Really stupid but these folks only seem to talk to each other lest reality intrude.

  3. Kugai says:

    Just another example of how the lunatics are running the asylum in U.S. Politics these days.

    I’d be on the floor laughing if it wasn’t so sad.

  4. dyspresja says:

    Yes, I totally don’t get this gun ownership thing. I prefer to live in safe country than to have a gun to defend myself. Maybe because shootings here are so rare I don’t see the case of the gun as a state symbol to be something more stupid than other stupid ideas. Like, oh, I dunno, F-16 blessed by priest? 😉

  5. Ana_ñ says:

    I understand your reasoning that if there is no legislative time for civil rights due to pressing economic troubles, there is even less time for minor things as a new state symbol (I am assuming that Utah has already a long list). That part is clear. (I see the poor excuse) But I don’t see clearly the connection with guns as a debate topic.

    Honesty, I would not have been surprised if you had said that a state gun was something usual. I mean, there is this concept of guns as a hallmark of American freedom. So, maybe many Americans feel that a certain gun symbolizes their state (Colt, Winchester, etc.), that they can relate to it; and I’m not referring to NRA members only.

    You talk about responsible gun ownership. I don’t know any particular law, but I think that most European countries have regulations for hunting and other uses of guns. However, I believe that these regulations are in other galaxy compared to those of USA.
    In this other galaxy, it is perceived that USA has identified itself with guns as much as with Coca Cola, hamburgers or Hollywood, for instance. Of course, each country is full of stereotypes (I know that very well), sometimes supported by statistics (numbers, not individuals). In this post I have learned that state guns don’t exist in USA and that the mere proposal of this bill is considered a stupid thing, but I don’t know why, as statistics say that US citizens are proud of their guns.

    • oregon expat says:

      Guns and Coca-Cola, eh? Sadly, that’s not a stereotype I can argue. Nor can I say that a majority would consider Utah’s state gun idea a stupid thing — I’m sure a lot of folks are all for it. After all, the immediate result of the Tucson, Arizona shooting was not just an increase in handgun sales, but an increase in sales of the specific model of gun used by the shooter.

      Americans tend to view gun issues in a binary manner. They either vilify all guns and see private gun owners as rednecks, assholes and/or men making up for small penises, or they’re at the other extreme and see even the slightest effort at regulating guns as an assault on cherished liberties. The middle ground is rather sparsely populated, I’m afraid. And the “you’ll pry my gun from my cold, dead hands” people have an extremely powerful lobby, not to mention a boatload of cultural support in the form of every action movie or TV show ever produced in my nation. So I can’t be surprised that someone viewing our nation from the outside would see only the gun worshippers, and not the rest.

      I saw a political cartoon that perfectly summed up the silliness that unchecked gun laws have led to: a gun store clerk is showing a buyer the same type of 30-bullet clip used by the Arizona shooter (which, in addition to the bullet in the gun’s chamber, adds up to 31 shots). The buyer is looking confused as to why he’d need 31 shots, and the clerk says, “Now imagine that 31 burglars have invaded your home…”

      • Ana_ñ says:

        > Guns and Coca-Cola, eh?
        Rum and Coca-Cola… Rhymes and sounds better.

        >So I can’t be surprised that someone viewing our nation from the outside would see only the gun worshippers, and not the rest.
        I know about “the rest”, of course, but it is far less visible/audible and powerful as to have a significant influence on gun control regulation.

        >The middle ground is rather sparsely populated
        I believe that I just have received a reply from one of them. Thanks for sharing your views.

  6. Scout says:

    Politics and good sense aside couldn’t they have picked a better looking gun?

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