Thursday, February 18, 2010

Utah State Senator Mark Madsen Withdraws Proposal To Commemorate John Browning With A State Holiday On Martin Luther King Day After NAACP Chimps Out

Utah State Senator Mark Madsen (R-Eagle Mountain) has withdrawn his proposal to commemorate famous Utah gunmaker John M. Browning with a state holiday on the same day as Martin Luther Ling's birthday, although Madsen said that he had never officially chosen MLK Day, but was merely considering it because it falls in January, the month Browning was born. The proposed bill was designated SB 247. Madsen wants to piggyback the proposed Browning Day onto another existing holiday to avoid costing the state a day of lost work. Browning's birthday is thought to be around January 21st, 1855; he died at age 71 in 1926.

But the media's impetuousity in running with the story before getting all the facts caused Salt Lake NAACP dominatrix Jeanetta Williams to chimp out. She roundly rejected any joint holiday for King, and particularly objected to sharing it with a gun maker, since Dr. King was murdered with a gun. Williams suggested that if lawmakers want a Browning day it would make more sense to put it on Pioneer Day (July 24th). The story also drew strong reaction on KSL Channel 5, with 397 public comments appended to the story, as well as on the Deseret News. A more up-to-date Deseret News article is available HERE.

Madsen is willing to consider Pioneer Day after soliciting input from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, as well as Veterans Day and Memorial Day. Madsen is NOT trying to get the Church's "permission" to choose Pioneer Day, though. "The church doesn't own Pioneer Day," Madsen said. "It is a state holiday. It's within the prerogative of the Legislature to decide which holidays are which. To the extent there is an affinity, we want to respect that." So far, the LDS Church has not commented on the possibility Browning would be associated with the annual July 24 celebration of the Mormon pioneers who settled the state.

John Moses Browning, born in Ogden, Utah, was an American firearms designer who developed many varieties of firearms, cartridges, and gun mechanisms, many of which are still in use around the world. He is the most important figure in the development of modern automatic and semi-automatic firearms and is credited with 128 gun patents — his first was granted October 7, 1879. He had made his first very own firearm at the age of thirteen in his father's gun shop. Browning influenced nearly all categories of firearms design. He invented or made significant improvements to single-shot rifles, lever action rifles, and slide action firearms. His most significant contributions were in the area of autoloading firearms. He developed the autoloading pistol by inventing the slide design found on nearly every modern automatic handgun. He also developed the first gas-operated machine gun, the Colt-Browning Model 1895—a system that would surpass recoil operation in popularity. Other successful designs include the M1911 pistol, the Browning .50 caliber machine gun, the Browning Automatic Rifle, and a ground-breaking semi-automatic shotgun, the Browning Auto-5.

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