Penn's Got A Gun

Pennsylvania has a state bird (ruffed grouse), tree (hemlock), fish (brook trout), hound (great Dane), even animal (white-tailed deer, because apparently the grouse, trout and Dane don’t qualify).

But, until now, it has not had a state firearm.

Yes, state firearm.

But the legislators who support HB 1989. debated Wednesday in Harrisburg, would change all that. The Pennsylvania long gun would be named the lucky firearm, as The Inquirer’s Amy Worden reports.

The long rifle is the first firearm considered specific to the Commonwealth, developed in the 18th century by Moravian craftsmen in Northampton County. The amendment is attached to a bill honoring the J3 Cub as the official state aircraft.

No one has a problem with the plane.

But two dozen Philadelphia region legislators expressed problems with the gun. Said Democratic Rep. Mark Cohen, “I object to having an official gun because of the high rate of murder with guns in Philadelphia and elsewhere and inactivity of legislation on that subject.”

But guns are big elsewhere in Pennsylvania, where the start of hunting season is viewed as a huge holiday, akin to Christmas with carcasses.

The final vote Wednesday was 173-24. The bill now moves to the Senate.

--Karen Heller