Excerpts from a January 29, 2011 column by Gail Collins.
Copyright © 2011 The New York Times
. . . in Salt Lake City, the state legislature is considering a bill to honor the Browning M1911 pistol by making it the official state firearm.Boys will be boys, and must have their toys. This ad appeared in a 1946 comic, appropriately titled Silly Tunes. Maybe Rep. Wimmer had one of these.
Yes, a committee in the Utah House of Representatives voted 9-2 this week to approve a bill that would add the Browning pistol to the pantheon of official state things, along with the bird (seagull), rock (coal) and dance (square).
"This firearm is Utah," Rep. Carl Wimmer, the Browning bill's sponsor, told The Salt Lake Tribune.
Capitol observers say the Browning bill has an excellent chance of becoming law.
On Monday, the Utah State Capitol celebrated Browning Day, honoring John Moses Browning, native son and maker of the nominee for Official State Firearm. There were speeches, a proclamation, a flyover by a National Guard helicopter, and, of course, a rotunda full of guns. "We recognize his efforts to preserve the Constitution," Gov. Gary Herbert said, in keeping with what appears to be a new Republican regulation requiring all party members to mention the Constitution at least once in every three sentences.
It is generally not a good policy to dwell on the strange behavior of state legislators since it leads to bottomless despair. If I wanted to go down that road, I'd give you Mark Madsen, a Utah state senator who tried to improve upon the Browning Day celebrations by suggesting they be scheduled to coincide with Martin Luther King Day since "both made tremendous contributions to individual freedom and individual liberty."
But it's a symptom of a new streak of craziness abroad in the land, which has politicians scrambling to prove not just that they are against gun regulation, but also that they are proactively in favor of introducing guns into every conceivable part of American life. National parks. Schools. Bars. Airports.
"There is abundant research suggesting in cities where more people own guns, the crime rate, especially the murder rate, goes down," Utah's new U.S. senator, Mike Lee, told CNN.
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