The Official Gun of Texas

The Official Gun of Texas
A state handgun and state knife may also be chosen, if Lone Star lawmakers approve. photo from theguardian.comweb photo

Every state in the union has an exhaustive list of official state whatevers—state bird, state color, state cooking implement, etc. Now, it looks like Texas might choose an official state firearm.

So far, a state gun has only been designated by eight states in the U.S.: Alaska (pre-1964 Winchester Model 70), Arizona (Colt Single Action Army revolver), Indiana (Grouseland Rifle), Kentucky (Kentucky Long Rifle), Pennsylvania (Long Rifle), Tennessee (Barrett M82), Utah (M1911 Pistol) and West Virginia (Hall rifle).

Utah became the first state to adopt an official firearm when it chose the 1911 in 2011, the year of the gun's 100th anniversary. The pistol was designed by Ogden, Utah native John Moses Browning. Tennessee was the most recent to choose a state gun when it named the Barrett in 2016, which is produced in Rutherford county.

Despite Texas' reputed fondness for firearms, the state has an official cooking implement and sea shell, but not a state gun. According to theguardian.com, a resolution to make the cannon the official state gun recently passed a senate committee hearing on Thursday. It will then head to the state legislature for a vote.

The choice of a cannon references the Battle of Gonzales in 1835 when Mexican soldiers tried to take a cannon from a group of Texans who resisted, marking the beginning in earnest of the Texas revolution, according to the story.

Another proposal in the current legislative session calls for the 1847 Colt Walker revolver, which saw use in the Mexican American war, to be the state’s official handgun. A third bill suggests the Bowie knife—named after legendary frontiersman Jim Bowie, who died at the Battle of the Alamo—be named the official state knife.

"There's room for all three, there really is," said Don Huffines, the Republican state senator who authored the cannon resolution. "Obviously the cannon is the most significant symbol we have for the state of Texas, our sense of independence, our strength of being responsible as individuals and not reliant on the government, our sense of liberty, our sense of virtue."

Huffines headed off potential criticism by anti-gun advocates by saying, "A cannon is symbolic, it's not about promoting violence, but our history speaks for itself, our heritage speaks for itself, and it is a heritage, a history, of using the cannon for our liberty and our independence. It's the spirit of Texas. We don't have people down here complaining about cannon control."

The story points out that hand-to-hand combat got a nod this week, when the state legislature made Chuck Norris an honorary Texan. He was born on the other side of the Oklahoma-Texas state line, but his many years as Walker, Texas Ranger must have made up for that.