Semi-automatic, .50-caliber rifle proposed as TN’s official ‘state firearm’

A semi-automatic, .50-caliber rifle would be declared Tennessee’s “official state firearm” under a bill (HB677) sponsored by Rep. James “Micah” Van Huss, R-Jonesborough, and Sen. Mae Beavers, R-Mount Juliet.

Van Huss served as a sniper in the U.S. Marine Corps and used a picture of himself posing with the weapon during campaigning, according to the Johnson City Press. The newspaper also reports that some gun enthusiasts are not enthusiastic about his preference of the Barrett Model 82A1 over other guns for official state symbol recognition – for example, the flintlock rifles carried by Tennesseans in the Revolutionary War battle of Kings Mountain and at the Battle of New Orleans in 1816.

The rifle is made by Barrett Firearms Manufacturing Inc., based in Murfreesboro and founded by Ronnie Barrett, with a basic retail price of $12,000, according to the company website. The company recently started making a .416 caliber version in addition to the .50 caliber.

A Google search indicates six other states — Alaska, Arizona, Utah, Indiana, Pennsylvania and West Virginia — have designated an official state firearm, mostly based on their use in state history. It also turns up a Field & Stream 2012 article speculating on the choices for each of the 50 states after a reader survey. For Tennessee, it’s the “Poor Boy Long Rifle,” described as, “A working long rifle trimmed with iron, not brass, the Poor Boy remained in use into the early 20th century.”

Picture from the Johnson City Press

Note: The bill is also referenced in a Sunday column by yours truly, posted HERE.

And, btw, fellow Knoxnews blogger Frank Munger, has been adding the following note to some of his posts — which also applies to this blog. And Frank has a lot more email followers than I, though probably for reasons other than the note. Still, happy to steal his idea:

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