Some Wyoming lawmakers are pushing to designate a powerful revolver made by a homegrown company as the official state firearm during the upcoming legislation session, which will start amid a heightened national debate on gun control.

A bill pending for the session that begins next week would name the Freedom Arms Model 83 revolver chambered in the extremely powerful .454 Casull cartridge as Wyoming’s official state gun. The high-end revolvers are made in a small factory in the western Wyoming town of Freedom.

Rep. Richard Cannady, R-Glenrock, is the bill’s main sponsor and runs a company that deals in shooting supplies. He said members of some local gun clubs approached him and other lawmakers asking them to designate a state gun.

“It’s one of the best guns made, high quality,” Cannady said Monday of the Freedom Arms revolver. “It’s nothing out here that somebody would absolutely just go out and start shooting people with. It’s made more for protection from bears and stuff like that, and hunting.”

Cannady said demand for ammunition and reloading components has skyrocketed at his business since the Dec. 14 school shooting in Connecticut prompted renewed talk about national gun control. He said he’s had to ration sales to keep speculators from clearing out his inventory.

If the bill goes through, Wyoming could become the fourth state to designate an official firearm.

Utah started the trend in 2011 by designating the Model 1911 .45 automatic as its state gun. The pistol, a military warhorse that’s seen combat for more than a century, was designed by native son and noted arms designer John Browning.

Later in 2011, Arizona lawmakers tipped their Stetsons in recognition of the state’s frontier gunslinger heritage when they chose the Colt Single Action Army revolver, a staple both of real old West gunfights and untold thousands of dime store Western novels in the years since.

Indiana was the latest, designating one particular historic black powder rifle, not a specific model of gun, as the state firearm this year.

Bob Baker, president of Freedom Arms, said Monday he thinks designating his company’s flagship revolver as the state firearm is a great idea.

In the quarter century of their production, the Freedom Arms revolvers have attracted the attention of serious big hunters who have used them around the world to kill just about every sort of creature imaginable. They start at about $2,500 and go up depending on specifications.

“I’ve got to be careful, I don’t want this to sound arrogant, but we’re kind of in a league of our own,” Baker said of his company’s guns. “We’re usually what others are compared to, and it’s nice doing it here in Wyoming and it’s nice that the state recognizes it an appreciates it in this way.”

Asked about the prospect of Wyoming lawmakers celebrating his company’s guns while much of the rest of the country is debating the need for more gun control, Baker said some people will always blame the object.

“But you know, one thing that’s interesting on shootings like this, usually it’s in a gun-free zone, and in a God-free zone,” Baker said. “Everybody will get what they want to get out of that, but it’s interesting how it works that way.”

Gov. Matt Mead hasn’t taken a position on the bill, spokesman Renny MacKay said Monday. Mead toured the Freedom Arms plant this summer, remarking after his tour that the company has a worldwide reputation for building high-quality firearms.

If the bill encounters resistance in the Wyoming Legislature, it may come mainly in the form of quibbling about which gun to honor, not questioning whether the state should be honoring any gun at all.

“I guess my only concern would be, how would you designate one?” said Sen. John Hines, R-Gillette. “Some people like handguns, some people like rifles.”

Dan Neal, of the Equality State Policy Center — a public accountability organization — said Monday his group doesn’t take an official position on the bill.

Neal questioned whether another gun might be more appropriate for Wyoming. He suggested lawmakers could consider the Model 94 Winchester rifle, for example, or a trapper’s musket or one of Buffalo Bill Cody’s rifles.

Neal also said state lawmakers have more serious matters to consider and noted that the shooting in Connecticut has put a spotlight on firearms nationwide.

“I don’t think we should ignore the fact that all those kids got killed and people are looking hard at guns in society,” Neal said. “So it’s another factor for leadership to consider as they think about where this bill should go and how it should be played this session.”

(22) comments

newtown
newtown

What is going to be the official state toilet paper of brand of fuel or beer?? Ridiculous waste of our time and money, do real work. Nothing against Freedom Arms BTW.

Sassy
Sassy

Aaahhh come on- this is a feel good piece of legislation. This bill scratches the back of the ultra conservative delegation from western Wyoming.

You could look at the list of proposed legislation and say this bill has far more "meaning" and "worth" to the citizens of Wyoming.

After all look at all of the specialty state licence we have now ( now that is real work )-- This that started with WYDOT and the list of legislators in there pockets.

After this state is run by WYDOT and WGF.

Sassy
Sassy

Aaahhh come on- this is a feel good piece of legislation. This bill scratches the back of the ultra conservative delegation from western Wyoming. You could look at the list of proposed legislation and say this bill has far more "meaning" and "worth" to the citizens of Wyoming. After all look at all of the specialty state licence we have now ( now that is real work )-- This all started with WYDOT and the list of legislators in there pockets. After this state is run by WYDOT and WGF.

Sassy
Sassy

Aaahhh come on- this is a feel good piece of legislation. This bill scratches the back of the ultra conservative delegation from western Wyoming. You could look at the list of proposed legislation and say this bill has far more "meaning" and "worth" to the citizens of Wyoming. After all look at all of the specialty state licence we have now ( now that is real work )-- This all started with WYDOT and the list of legislators in their pockets. After all this state is run by WYDOT and WGF.

James Madison
James Madison

Any legislation that could send gun grabber liberal radicals in Wyoming into convulsions is a law I can support.

What happened to Governor Mead's campaign platform of cowboy ethics?

Sounds like the governor is lacking sand to stand up against the global governance gun grabbers.

Stand up for your State Mead.

jc45
jc45

We can put it in a gun turrent on our State aircrft carrier.

rigrat
rigrat

Well lookee here what the RINO's want,in a time of crowing about saving money they promote this BS. Hypocrisy has no limits in this state anymore.

Synergizerer
Synergizerer

I would rather see a bill like this being debated in any way than some liberal BS bill. This is part of our state (history and business) that actually has some meaning.

If you don't like the way things are going in Wyoming, feel free to move to Colorado. That way you can smoke your pipe and cry about the world online just like they do.

rigrat
rigrat

If you don't like the way I comment,feel free to read some other paper.That way you can moan and b**** about someone else,cause I aint goin nowhere pal.

Cody Coyote
Cody Coyote

In Wyoming , this is what we call " Social Legislation ".

minimedic
minimedic

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minimedic
minimedic

I agree that they do have other important things to work on, but this is a "feel good" piece of legislation, in a time that some would say is needed, but others will say is inappropriate due to the recent incidents. Even though it should not take much time to consider and work on.

I don't think that there should be much debate on it, as Freedom Arms is a Wyoming company and is a good choice if Wyoming wants to follow other states in having a designated state Firearm. It is "home grown" from Wyoming so why not make it the choice.

Some might argue why not "the Model 94 Winchester rifle", well why not adopt it as the Wyoming stated rifle then? It was a commonly and popularly used rifle in those days of the Wild West. This is the "Cowboy State" so why not be unlike other states, support that Cowboy Moto of the Wild West and have a state pistol (a six shooter) and state rifle ( a old style lever action 30 30).

Sassy
Sassy

Personally Hank Coe does not need his ego stroked with a "state rifle" in honor of Wild Bill Cody. Far to many "real pioneers" sacrificed everything for this state.

Big Evan Diehl
Big Evan Diehl

Please connect the dots for us relative to Bill Cody and Hank Coe. I don't get what you're trying to say.

Sassy
Sassy

The Coe family bought Bill Cody ranch. Hank has ridden on the coat tails of his family for many years!!!!

Big Evan Diehl
Big Evan Diehl

Anyone know if Freedom Arms ever added a hammer block safety to the Model 83? A guy hung his slicker up on the hammer of one a few years back, shot himself in the leg and got a big settlement.

If not, Freedom's Model 97 would be a better choice. It has a hammer block safety and so is a real sixshooter (you can carry it safely with all chambers loaded, like a post-'73 Ruger Blackhawk).

brianvmax
brianvmax

so the idiot shot himself and got money? man to bad i hate pain.

Comment deleted.
Big Evan Diehl
Big Evan Diehl

Thanks for your explanation of why you dislike Mr. Coe.

Cowboy Joe
Cowboy Joe

Given the times, probably not the smartest move out of Cheyenne. It seems like something a little more important could be discussed...but if we are serious about a state gun it should be a fair debate. Freedom makes a fine handgun, but in reality the Winchester Model 70 in a .270 is probably a more widely used and beloved gun than the canon from Star Valley. That's my vote if we are doing ridiculous things in our legislature.

supercalifragilistic
supercalifragilistic

Howdy Joe,
I'd say they are looking to honor something made in Wyoming, let alone the USA.

MasterGunny
MasterGunny

Given the present state of government in the U.S. and the direction that American citizens are being steered inre: the NDAA for one example, it is vital that states take the initiative to propose and pass bills that strengthen and reinforce not only the spirit of freedom but also the determination of that spirit to remain free and organized as proposed by the founding fathers.
A man who knows how to live has no place for death to enter. Do not pretend you know the way of life when those who make the laws that eat away at your very freedoms grow stronger from your weakening spirit. What may seem trivial to those of you who feel that there are "Better" things to discuss in Cheyenne realize this...it is a slap in the face to those who would rather see you perish than prosper.

SemperFi!

americanvet
americanvet

I worked for freedom arms in the very beginning the 454 is the finest single action hand gun in the world it's made in wyo.by locals you can't get any better than that. When wayne baker opened up freedom arms he did a good thing for the people of wyo.the 454 should be the state gun

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