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A state of celebration: browning and colt: Utah and Arizona name two iconic American firearms as "official state guns.".

MY FRUSTRATION LEVEL IS PRETTY MUCH OFF the charts when it comes to politics at the state and federal level. From a distance, the view of how my home state of Illinois plays political games is terribly disappointing when I consider the fact that Illinois was home to one of this country's greatest leaders, President Abraham Lincoln.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

I've been to the state capitol in Springfield, and I've been to Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., to meet members of the United States Congress. And I should point out that not all legislators are so wrapped up in the politics of the day that they're only concerned with standing firm on party lines, which is the main reason we have political gridlock at the national level and why there is so much unrest among voters.

Former Republican U.S. Senator Alan Simpson was and is one of my all-time favorite politicians. I've had the opportunity to interview him, and he's as direct and to the point as any politician I've spoken to over the last 30-plus years. He authored a book titled Right in the Old Gazoo, which pretty much sums up his approach. He never played backroom politics, but he always added a dose of humor if it helped open the lines of communication for getting legislation passed. And he earned respect on both sides of the aisle. My biggest disappointment with Senator Simpson? He never ran for president.

I'll always defer to our resident Capitol Hill authority, Chris Cox, to address key legislative matters that impact gun owners. But I'm going to chime in on a couple of state "legislative" issues that quickly brought a smile to my face when I heard the news.

Two states, Utah and Arizona, have approved legislation that puts firearms front and center--and in a positive light. Amazing ...

When Utah Governor Gary Herbert signed legislation into law making John Moses Browning's 1911 pistol the "official state firearm," it made Utah the first state in the Union to so honor an iconic American firearm.

Then Arizona followed suit with the Colt Single-Action Army revolver as its official state gun. I can only imagine how irritating this legislation has to be for some of our most anti-gun U.S. Senators--California's Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein, and New York's Charles Schumer.

"The state of Utah's decision to make the John M. Browning-designed Model 1911 the official state firearm as well as designating January 24th John M. Browning Day in Utah comes as a great honor to Browning and the Browning family," notes Scott Grange, Browning's director of public relations. "It's a fitting tribute to a man whose designs literally changed the course of history."

As many readers already know, John Browning was--and and still is--the most prolific firearms inventor in U.S. history. While the focus is on his 1911 this year as we celebrate its 100th anniversary, he also designed the Browning Automatic Rifle, the M2.50-caliber machine gun, the Auto-5 shotgun and numerous Winchester and Remington firearms. (Tune in to Guns & Ammo Television starting the first week of July, as we've filmed some special segments highlighting Browning's genius.)

Arizona, which has such a rich old-west history (and yes, the state's history goes well beyond the shootout at the O.K. Corral), was another perfect state to pass official state firearms legislation. I can only hope this type of legislation will draw the attention of other state legislators.

I only hope it doesn't take another 235 years for another state to step up to the plate.

A tip of the G&A cap to Utah and Arizona legislators for having the guts to stand up and be counted.
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Title Annotation:EDITORIAL
Author:Bequette, Jim
Publication:Guns & Ammo
Geographic Code:1U8UT
Date:Jul 23, 2011
Words:614
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