Wisconsin Republicans release bill to create an official state rifle

Gun Rights

MADISON – Wisconsin would become the 10th state in the U.S. to designate an official state firearm under a new Republican bill, joining flowers, cheese and birds as having an official state symbol.

Under the bill, the Wisconsin-manufactured Henry All-Weather .45-70 would be designated the state’s official rifle. Henry Repeating Arms, maker of the gun, has its Wisconsin headquarters in Rice Lake.

Bill authors state Reps. Dave Armstrong, Treig Pronschinske and James Edming and Sen. Romaine Quinn said the move would honor the popular pastime of hunting and a Wisconsin manufacturer.

“Hunting is one of Wisconsin’s most revered pastimes, and it is an important economic engine, particularly in our rural areas,” the lawmakers wrote in a memo to colleagues seeking co-sponsorship.

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It’s unlikely to be signed by Democratic Gov. Tony Evers, however, who has sought measures to curb gun violence and vetoed legislation that would expand the number of places Wisconsin residents may carry firearms.

If the bill became law, Wisconsin would join Alaska, Arizona, Utah, Indiana, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Tennessee and Texas in having an official state gun, according to the National Rifle Association.

Sen. Kelda Roys, D-Madison, said she would rather have an “official policy to address gun violence.”

“It shows the deeply unserious approach of Republicans to issues of gun safety,” Roys said. “There are a lot of bipartisan things that can and should be done with Republicans and Democrats working together to reduce gun deaths, and accidental unintentional gun violence, and yet Republicans here in Wisconsin are unwilling to do any of those things.”

Other state symbols include the badger, wood violet, robin and cranberry as the state’s official animal, flower, bird and fruit. There are 26 symbols in all.

Molly Beck can be reached at molly.beck@jrn.com.

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