Utah State Sen. Mark Madsen (R) is introducing legislation to create a holiday honoring John Moses Browning — the Utah native and “gun pioneer” who founded the Browning Arms company — on the same day as Martin Luther King Day. Browning’s birthday is believed to be around Jan. 21, so “Madsen proposes doubling up Browning and King”:
“I see them as complimentary,” [Madsen] said. Browning is known for developing a variety of guns, including the gas-operated machine gun. Madsen said he plans to meet with the NAACP to discuss his proposal.
“We’ll see if they can take it in the spirit it’s intended,” Madsen said. [...]
“Guns keep peace,” [state Senate Majority Leader Scott] Jenkins [R] said. “I kind of like the idea of making his birthday a holiday. I’m all over that.”
Salt Lake NAACP President Jeanetta Williams said she was “furious” about the idea. “It is not acceptable for the name John M. Browning to jointly share the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. holiday,” she said. “Dr. King was assassinated by a man using a gun. John M. Browning was a gun manufacturer. … To me it’s a very mean-spirited act.” King would probably be outraged aswell, having said that by allowing guns to be “purchased at will and fired at whim…we have created an atmosphere in which violence and hatred have become popular pastimes.” For several years, Utah “purposely” omitted King’s name from the holiday, calling it Human Rights Day until 2000. Madsen noted that he’s not committed to MLK day and will find another day “if the race baiters are out there looking for an opportunity” to start a controversy.