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Thursday, June 5, 2014

PA a Step Closer to Having
Official State Firearm, Aircraft

Whether you think it’s necessary or not, Pennsylvania is one step closer to having an official state firearm.

The House on Wednesday voted 173 to 24 to designate the long rifle as the state’s official firearm because of its historical significance. The gun was manufactured in southeastern Pennsylvania in the 18th and 19th centuries and valued by early settlers for its light weight and accuracy.

Several lawmakers objected to the measure, citing concerns about gun violence and saying it would be an insult to victims. He also said, historically, commercial products have not been recognized by lawmakers as an official symbol for the state.

The long rifle designation was actually an amendment to a bill that would make the J3 Cub the state’s official aircraft.

The single-engine J3 Cub, which celebrates its 75th anniversary this year, was manufactured in Lock Haven between 1937 and 1947. Originally intended for flight training, it went on to become one of the most popular planes of all time in both civilian and military use.

But, there’s a Bradford connection. That plane’s predecessor, the Taylor E-2 Cub was manufactured in Bradford by Taylor Aircraft and financed by William Piper, who was born in Knapp Creek, New York, and was a Bradford industrialist.

You can see the information about the aircraft and Taylor/Piper on a monument (pictured here) at the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford, where Taylor Aircraft was located.

As for some other state symbols: milk is the official drink; the flower is the mountain laurel; and the insect is the firefly. The Slinky has been proposed as the state toy. (Sorry, Woolly Willy.)

We hope there’s no debate when and if lawmakers decide Pennsylvania needs an official lighter.

Photos courtesy of Pitt-Bradford

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