When I wrote Ode to Browning, I wondered aloud how a Mormon kid from Ogden, Utah, could become the world’s most influential gun designer. That muse was not an idle thought. Last week I visited the Nauvoo, Illinois home and shop of John Moses’ father, Jonathan, and the story became clear. In Illinois I delved into an ugly period of American history that many people would rather forget. A history of renegade militias and mob justice, human rights violations and unlawful detentions, slavery and prejudice, abuse of governmental power and government sanctioned murder. And guns.
John Moses Browning was the most influential gun designer. Ever. John C. Garand, Mikhail Kalashnikov, Hiram Maxim, Georg Luger, Dr. Richard J. Gatling, Benjamin Henry, Christian Sharps, General John T. Thompson, and Samuel Colt were one hit wonders by comparison to Browning’s legacy. Browning regarded John Pedersen as the world’s greatest gun designer, but his own work greatly eclipses that of the prolific Remington Arms designer. Browning’s firearms helped conquer the Wild West, accompanied Teddy Roosevelt up San Juan Hill against the Spanish, sparked off the chain of events that led to World War I and later helped to tip the balance of power against the Kaiser’s forces, ended Nazism (literally) and Imperialist Japan, and fought communist expansionism in Korea and Vietnam. To this day, his gun designs endure as favorites of police and military forces around the world, as well as sportsmen. Not bad for a gentle Mormon kid from Ogden.
From the Salt Lake Tribune:
Senate leaders say they like the idea of honoring the late Utah gun inventor John Moses Browning with a state holiday, but aren’t set on having it share a day with the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday.
Sen. Mark Madsen, R-Eagle Mountain , is proposing the holiday for the Ogden inventor of automatic weapons, and paired it with MLK Day to avoid the cost of adding a separate holiday. But Sen. Wayne Niederhauser, R-Sandy, said Wednesday that sensitivity to the King holiday could make it appropriate to choose another date — either standing alone or paired with another federal holiday.
Senate Majority Leader Scott Jenkins said it’s appropriate to honor Browning, and he personally sees no conflict in doing so on a day that already honors a Nobel Peace Prize winner.
“Guns keep peace,” Jenkins said.