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Barrett M82 (courtesy

“A resolution designating the Barrett Model M82/M107 as Tennessee’s official state rifle was approved in the House last year 74-9 with a smattering of vocal bipartisan opposition — under sponsorship of Rep. Micah Van Huss, R-Jonesborough, a Marine veteran who carried the weapon during a tour of duty in Iraq,” knoxnews,.com reports. “It was unanimously approved in the Senate State and Local Government Committee last week with Sen. Richard Briggs, R-Knoxville, hailing the gun as one that has saved lives of both American soldiers and innocent civilians even though it’s widely known as a ‘sniper rifle.'” Even though? And why not . . .

Tennessee Long Rifle (courtesy

the Tennessee long rifle?

For those unfamiliar with the firearm, click here for an excellent paper on the subject by Robin C. Hale. Suffice it to say, the Tennessee rifle was the peer of the more widely known “Kentucky rifle.” The built-in-Tennessee versions helped the state’s earliest settlers survive in the wilderness and spread throughout the Rockies. Well worth recognition.

It seems politics is at play (shocking, I know) in the selection of the .50 cal Barrett.

One objection raised in the House was that the proposal — — HJR231 — amounts to a state-sanctioned endorsement of one manufacturer’s product over others. In particular, it was noted that Beretta Inc. recently invested millions of dollars in a gun manufacturing plant at Clarksville.

Sen. Mae Beavers, R-Mount Juliet, said Beretta is a “fine company” making fine firearms, but is better known for its pistols and shotguns. She suggested a future resolution could designate a Berretta-manufactured handgun as Tennessee’s official state pistol.

The Barrett rifle designation, she said, “honors Tennessee’s ingenuity in manufacturing.” The weapon was developed by Ronnie Barrett, founder and owner of Murfreesboro-based Barret Firearms, whose wife, Donna, is a former state representative.

Speaking of politics, the bill’s sponsor felt obliged to downplay the Barrett’s “sniper” rep.

Briggs, who served as an Army physician in Iraq and Afghanistan, said he had received emails objecting that the state would pay homage to a “sniper rifle” primarily used to kill people. But the senator said he personally witnessed situations in which the Barrett M82 was used to “detonate ordinance” and thus avoid casualties.

“It can be used to disable vehicles without killing the occupants of that vehicle. It not only saves American lives, it may even save innocent civilian lives,” Briggs said.

Huh? The things we do for love . . .

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    Any move towards acceptance of modern firearms is a victory in my book. Scratch that, any move towards acceptance of firearms in general. No need to discriminate.

  2. All things aside, its a cool idea to have weapon systems be tied to states. A uniquely American experience paying homage to our right to keep and bear arms. Politics or not, all states should have an official state rifle and since owning a gun is a right, all the socialists should be clamoring to give them away free right?

    • Oh, yeah, just imagine the interstate pissing contests, “my state’s rifle’s bigger than your state’s rifle!”, “I can carry mine all day with one hand”, “Yeah, I can carry mine with 800 rounds of ammo at a run for 5 miles!”, “I don’t need to run for 5 miles, I can shoot you from 5 miles away, instead.”, and on and on. Lordy that would be fun.

  3. I thought .50 bmg can’t be used as a sniper rifle? Didn’t the UN say it’s too big and thus it’s classified as an anti material rifle? And clothing (like military uniforms) are considered “material”

      • Sadly, no. It’s classified as a weapon that causes “unnecessary suffering” when used to attack personnel according to some people’s reading of the Hague Conventions.

        In reality, however, nobody gives a damn.

        • So a .50 is a no go but you can use 120mm tank shells, mortars, napalm, willy pete, etc and all those are fine against personnel? When politics gets into war it just makes a mess of things.

        • I’ve heard this from about a dozen different people but none of them could ever find a source to back it up.

        • I’ve seen combat videos of men hit by a .50 sniper rifle, and they did not suffer. I am sure of that, since they were turned inside out and tossed 50 feet into the air, often in pieces.

    • That’s just one of those myths that privates keep on saying while in basic training. I’ve read the Hauge Convention. I’ve sat through loads of mandatory training on the Geneva convention and ROE briefings. Not a single one mentioned this “fact”.

      • I’ve heard that particular rumor almost as often as the one about there being saltpeter in the MREs and DFAC food, with “stress cards” during IET being a close third.
        I rode behind an M2 for most of my Army career, and nobody ever briefed us about reserving the big .50 for engine blocks or IEDs. If a haji had the temerity to stand up (or hide behind a mud-brick wall) in front of the Browning, he learned quickly that there was no such rule either.

    • I’ve heard anti-equipment before, not material. Belt buckles, helmets, etc are military equipment. If your to close to said enemy equipment and get yourself killed its no different than being in a truck that’s hit with a bomb or missile, right? They never shoot enemy combatants with the 50, the shooter is aiming at the belt buckles and helmets. If you don’t want to get shot then fight naked and make sure your not holding a military weapon.

  4. Congratulations to Barrett, but why does Tennessee need an official state anything?

    Okay, I can understand state flowers and state birds, because they are natural emblems of a state. But what’s next — myocardial infarction as Tennessee’s official state disease? Meth as the official state drug?

    Should, for example, New Jersey have an official state stink?

    • I think all gun makers and ammo makers should refuse to do business with the State of California. Period. Let state personnel have to re equip with machetes and sling shots.

    • How about California’s state gun be a “ghost gun”.
      Maybe we could get deLeon to sponsor it?

  5. Freaking idiots. One more thing the government does not need to be involved with.

    Make it a hi-point and then you got my attention.

  6. To all the haters of my fair state, while other states (ahem, Commiefornia) are debating new gun restrictions of one sort or another, mine is debating which firearm is its favorite. Just as the Hippocratic oath’s, first do no harm invocation, there are far worse things a legislature could be doing.

    I love my state.

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