March 10th, 2011

Arizona gets official gun - and Colt Manufacturing gets free naming rights

East Valley Tribune

Cost to name the Cardinals stadium after the University of Phoenix? $154.5 million over 20 years.

Cost to Bank One—now Chase—for its name on the baseball stadium? $2.2 million a year until 2028.

And the cost to the Colt Manufacturing Co. to get the Arizona Senate to name one of its products the official state weapon? Priceless.

Well, actually zero.

That, however, didn’t keep the senators from voting 18-12 Tuesday to declare the Colt single action Army revolver the official state gun. It joins such things as the official state tree, butterfly, gemstone and neckwear, the last being, of course, the bola tie.

But the move annoyed Sen. Adam Driggs, R-Phoenix, who pointed out that all of those other items are generic. This is the first time, he said, lawmakers would be endorsing a brand name.

“This is advertisement for Colt,’’ he said. While the gun in question was first made in 1873, the company still sells versions.

“If the state is going to go in this direction, I think we should get the equivalent of naming rights,’’ Driggs continued. He said Arizona, facing a $1.1 billion deficit next budget year, could use the cash.

Company lobbyist Todd Rathner conceded he crafted the measure, calling the gun “historically important to the founding of the state and to the survival of the state.’’ He said it was used not only by the Arizona Rangers but also by officers at the Copper Queen mine in Bisbee for “security.’’

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