Until this week, Utah had 24 state symbols, from tree (the blue spruce) to insect (the honeybee) to even cooking pot (the Dutch oven).If anything, it means self protection to me. Maybe some day the left will realize that.
Now it's added an official state firearm -- the John M. Browning-designed M1911 pistol, becoming the first state in the nation to have one, according to the state legislator who sponsored the law.
Utah Gov. Gary Herbert signed the new symbol into law this week.
State Rep. Carl Wimmer, a Republican who was a police officer and SWAT team commander, came up with the idea for a state firearm last year after hearing about how Pennsylvania lawmakers wanted to make the Pennsylvania long rifle its official state firearm, Wimmer told CNN on Friday.
That measure eventually failed, he said.
Wimmer selected the semi-automatic M1911 because gun maker Browning was born and raised in Ogden, Utah, and was the son of Utah pioneers who crossed the plains in the 1800s, Wimmer said.
This year is also the 100th anniversary of when the U.S. military chose the M1911 to be its standard-issue sidearm for all branches of service, Wimmer said. That's how the pistol got its name: "M" for military and 1911 for the year that the military began issuing the gun to all its servicemen and women, Wimmer said.
In a state more known for its strong Mormon traditions and breathtaking national parks, the creation of an official state firearm raised controversy, especially when the measure was pursued even after January's mass shooting in Tucson, Arizona, that killed six persons and wounded 13 others, including U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords. The bill was introduced just before the horrific shootings, Wimmer said.
"People say the timing is terrible, and I admit the timing is terrible," Wimmer said. "We have a part-time legislature in Utah, and we are only in session for 45 days. Certainly meaning no disrespect to the tragedy in Arizona, we moved forward in doing this because it's the only opportunity that we had."
Other critics have said the new state symbol implicitly condones gun violence.
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