Sen. Trent Garner loves guns, you already knew and wants them carried everywhere possible. Knives, too. The Tom Cotton aide is just brimming with ideas — some unconstitutional, some useless but generally designed to appeal to a certain market segment.
In Arkansas we have a wonderful series of official state symbols that reflect our state’s unique character.
Our official state gem is the diamond, because the mines in Murfreesboro are the only place in the nation where the general public can simply walk in and search for diamonds.
Arkansas accounts for more than 40 percent of U.S. rice production, so it’s natural that rice is our official state grain.
From the mockingbird, to the pine tree, to vine ripened pink tomatoes, we often see examples of our official state symbols as we go about our everyday lives.
We’ve designated them as official state symbols in order to show what we value. We want the world at large to know what we care about as Arkansans. For those reasons, I am working on legislation to make two worthy additions to our rich list of state symbols.
First, I want to make the world-famous Bowie knife our official state knife. The Bowie knife gets its name from an early pioneer family who settled in Arkansas. Jim Bowie, the most famous member of the family, died in the battle of the Alamo in San Antonio, Texas.
James Black was the blacksmith in Washington, Arkansas, in Hempstead County, who is credited with making the knife for Jim Bowie. The history of the Bowie knife, also known as the “Arkansas knife” and the “Arkansas Toothpick,” is ingrained within the rich history of Arkansas. Today you can travel to Historic Washington State Park and visit the blacksmith shop where this famous knife was originally made.
Designating the Bowie knife as the official state knife of Arkansas will do more than simply recognize its well-earned role in the state’s history. It will also let the world know the importance of this Arkansas-born treasure.
Next, I plan to sponsor legislation making the shotgun the official state gun.
Arkansas is internationally known for the quality of our hunting, especially duck hunting. While there are many different ways to harvest game, almost every hunter has a shotgun in their collection.
Whether you are shooting ducks in a green-timber hole, hunting deer on a cold morning or calling turkey from the edge of a pasture, the shotgun is a versatile tool that can be used in many different types of hunts.
I’ve received plenty of encouragement from people I’ve talked to about this idea. Like me, they think the Bowie knife and the shotgun reflect our values, and that adding them to the list of official state symbols will tell the world who we are and what we value.
More seriously, the Historic Arkansas Museum, which Garner fails to mention, does a comprehensive job of commemorating the Bowie knife. As for shotguns: Well, there are many styles and gauges. Which one, specifically, would get the nod for a license plate, official portrait or whatever else the young demagogue has in mind.? In some parts of Little Rock, the sawed-off model might be favored. Also, only about 10 percent of Arkansans have hunting licenses. But I’d wager