Guns

Utah Set to Adopt Gun as State Symbol

| by Mark Berman Opposing Views

While many debate whether gun laws should be strengthened in the wake of the Arizona shooting, the state of Utah is planning to adopt a gun as its state symbol.

The Browning M1911 automatic pistol to be exact. The weapon was invented in Utah 100 years ago, and lawmakers feel it is time to honor it.

"This pistol is Utah - its history is emblazoned on our state," Rep. Carl Wimmer told The Independent. He added that the arms manufacturer John Browning "invented a firearm that has defended American values and the traditions of this country for 100 years."

However, gun control advocates say the move is an embarrassment, coming so soon after the shooting in neighboring Arizona.

"Semi-automatic pistols are the weapons of choice of those who are committing massacres," Steve Gunn of the Gun Violence Prevention Center, told the Desert News. "It's an embarrassment to the state to have as a symbol that was used only a few weeks ago to kill innocent people."

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But Rep. Stephen Sandstrom said guns are not the problem. "Tragic events happen because of bad people in this world, but handguns, and firearms in general, do not kill people. We need to stop demonizing firearms."

Utah has some of the most relaxed guns laws in the country; 45% of its residents admit to owning a gun.

If the state House of Representatives approves the bill as expected next month, the gun would  become the 25th symbol of the state.