Arizona's 'thoughtless' push for an official state gun

State lawmakers want to honor a revolver that helped tame the Wild West. Should they have waited a little longer after the tragic Tucson shooting rampage?

The Colt is regarded as the revolver that tamed the Wild West, but to honor it as the Arizona state gun may be tone deaf to the two-month old shooting of Re. Gabrielle Giffords (D).
(Image credit: CC BY: Michael Martelli)

Arizona legislators have proposed naming the Wild West-era Colt single action Army revolver as their official state gun. But the timing of the proposal has sparked an outcry from critics who say it is wrong to honor a deadly weapon less than two months after the Tucson shooting that wounded Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D) and cost six people their lives. Is this proposal disrespectful?

It is cruel to do this now: This move "seems to defy all logic," says James King in Phoenix New Times. An official state gun serves "literally no purpose." It's particularly "thoughtless" for Arizona's "gun nuts" to rally behind this plan now, so soon after "one of the most tragic mass shootings in American history."

"Arizona legislators want official state gun. This should help state's image"

Subscribe to The Week

Escape your echo chamber. Get the facts behind the news, plus analysis from multiple perspectives.


Sign up for The Week's Free Newsletters

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

Sign up

Gun-control advocates are the ones being disrespectful: Anyone "with a shred of humanity" views the Tucson shooting rampage as a "horrific crime," says Robert Farago at The Truth About Guns. But gun-control advocates are trying to exploit the tragedy and use it as a springboard for tighter gun laws. Their "vilification" of the harmless attempt to name a state gun is the kind of "boneheaded bombast" that makes it so easy to poke fun at them.

"Arizona (Colt revolver) races Utah (1911) for first state gun"

This isn't sooo crazy: If any state is going to have an official gun, says Andrew Malcolm in the Los Angeles Times, perhaps it should be Arizona, home of the O.K. Corral. But Arizona might be too slow on the draw. Utah's legislature has passed a law honoring the Browning 1911 semiautomatic pistol, and if Utah's governor signs it into law, it will be Utah, and not Arizona, that will have the first official state gun.

"Showdown! Arizona vs. Utah as first with an official state gun"

Continue reading for free

We hope you're enjoying The Week's refreshingly open-minded journalism.

Subscribed to The Week? Register your account with the same email as your subscription.