House votes Barrett rifle as official state firearm; Democrats propose other product endorsements

The House Wednesday approved a resolution declaring the Barrett Model M82/M107 rifle as Tennessee’s official state firearm, but not without some critical commentary.

HJR231, sponsored by Republican Rep. Micah Van Huss of Jonesborough, a former Marine, passed the House 74-9. But it wasn’t considered by the Senate before adjournment and thus needs approval by that body next year before the Barrett designation becomes official.

In House debate, Rep. Susan Lynn, R-Mount Juliet, questioned whether the resolution amounts to endorsing one product over another, resulting in unequal treatment. But Lynn said she would vote for the resolution even though worried it might lead to a lawsuit.

Rep. Antonio Parkinson, D-Memphis, also a former Marine, voiced similar objections, suggesting the resolution amounts to a commercial endorsement of one gun manufacturer over others – including Beretta, which is building a manufacturing plant near Clarksville.

The Tennessean reports, in a roundup of some last-minute legislation, that Parkinson also filed resolutions afterwards declaring FedEx the state’s “official delivery company” and AutoZone “the official auto parts manufacturer and distributor” of Tennessee. (Note: The legislative website shows the AutoZone resolution as HJR455, but did not have the others posted Friday.)

Fellow Memphis Democratic Rep. G.A. Hardaway introduced a resolution to make the Memphis Grizzlies the “official sports team” of Tennessee. The Democrats’ resolutions were delayed until next year.