By David DeKok
HARRISBURG Pa. (Reuters) - Pennsylvania lawmakers on Wednesday moved closer to adopting the long rifle as the official state firearm, a step already taken by four other U.S. states.
The House of Representatives voted 157-39 to give the title to the Pennsylvania Long Rifle, a weapon with a long local history.
The Long Rifle was manufactured in southeastern Pennsylvania in the 18th and 19th centuries and valued by soldiers, hunters and settlers for its light weight and accuracy.
“In this climate, there is always concern with guns and gun laws,” said Representative Marcia Hahn, a Republican, who sponsored the amendment and is working with the Pennsylvania Long Rifle Museum in Nazareth. “I understand but this has historical significance.”
The designation of a state firearm is an amendment attached to a bill naming the Piper Cub as the official state aircraft. The full bill was expected to go to a final vote in the House later on Wednesday before moving to the state Senate.
West Virginia, Utah, Arizona and Indiana all have selected officials firearms within the past three years. Each selected an historic weapon associated with the state, such as the Colt Single-Action Army revolver in Arizona.
The Pennsylvania bill drew criticism from gun control advocates.
Shira Goodman, head of Ceasefire PA in Philadelphia, said lawmakers were wasting time on such a measure while overlooking proposals for expanded background checks and mandatory reporting of lost or stolen firearms.
“If that is the only bill that passes since Sandy Hook, that is a disgrace,” Goodman said, referring to the 2012 school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut.
(Editing by Ellen Wulfhorst)