An Arkansas senator has the brilliant idea to officially designate the state gun and the state knife. Take that, anti-gun zealots!
Arkansas Senator Trent Garner has released a statement indicating that he wants to add to his state's list of official state symbols. Garner, a Republican, wants to make the shotgun the official state gun and the bowie knife the official state knife.
Garner points out on his Facebook page that Arkansas has a long list of recognized state symbols.
For example, the state gem is the diamond because the mine in Murfreesboro is the only place in the country where the public can search for diamonds. Rice is the state grain, as Arkansas produces 40 percent of the country's rice.
He asserts that these and other symbols (the mockingbird, pine tree and pink tomatoes) declare what Arkansas residents value and help define the character of the state. To that end, Garner will be introducing legislation to add the bowie knife and the shotgun as official state symbols.
Why these two weapons in particular?
The bowie knife, of course, gets its name from one of Arkansas' famous residents, Jim Bowie, a man who fought and died at the Alamo in San Antonio, Texas. Legend has it that he wielded his big knife to great effect in that battle for independence.
Garner writes, "James Black was the blacksmith in Washington, Arkansas, in Hempstead County, who is credited with making the knife for Jim Bowie. The history of the Bowie knife, also known as the 'Arkansas knife' and the 'Arkansas Toothpick,' is ingrained within the rich history of Arkansas. Today you can travel to Historic Washington State Park and visit the blacksmith shop where this famous knife was originally made."
"Designating the Bowie knife as the official state knife of Arkansas will do more than simply recognize its well-earned role in the state's history. It will also let the world know the importance of this Arkansas-born treasure."
Garner hopes to make the shotgun the official state gun and with Arkansas' legacy of duck hunting and at least three smaller, custom firearm manufacturers in the state that produce shotguns (Nighthawk Customs and Wilson Combat produce shotguns for law enforcement and home defense, and Federal Armament also produces shotguns) he has a solid foundation for his opinion.
Garner rests the bulk of his argument on the tradition of hunting in his state.
"Arkansas is internationally known for the quality of our hunting," he says, "especially duck hunting. While there are many different ways to harvest game, almost every hunter has a shotgun in their collection.
"Whether you are shooting ducks in a green-timber hole, hunting deer on a cold morning or calling turkey from the edge of a pasture, the shotgun is a versatile tool that can be used in many different types of hunts."
Garner claims that many of his constituents are very supportive of the idea. He says that "the Bowie knife and the shotgun reflect our values, and [that] adding them to the list of official state symbols will tell the world who we are and what we value."
Personally, I think it's a great idea. I'd like to see other states follow Garner's lead and adopt similar state symbols that recognize specific firearms as particular to their state's identity.
Anything that we the people can do to help make firearms and gun ownership less controversial and more widely acceptable is a good thing in my book. We are a nation that was to a large degree built on the freedom of citizens to own and use firearms. We should embrace and celebrate that fact of liberty.
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