From a point of curiosity this has to be one of those times where we look back and say, “Never really saw that coming, or for that matter even considered the possibility…”. News is hitting the air waves over the internet about Tennessee House Joint Resolution Bill 231, which officially makes the .50 BMG Barrett M82/M107 anti-material rifle the state rifle of Tennessee. The resolution itself is actually pretty neatly written, paying homage to Ronnie Barrett, and him drawing out plans for a semi automatic .50 BMG rifle on a napkin table at a diner, making note that he spent his life and career in the state as well. From what I’ve read of Barrett, he was certainly an innovative entrepreneur, with his original career as a photographer, and having zero firearms design experience. He asked some people in the industry if his rifle idea was worthwhile and apparently one of them said something along the lines of, “If it was a viable idea at all, it would have been made already”. Regardless, he charged ahead and created one of the most iconic anti material rifles in the world. Some of the news reports on this are comical to read, as some of the Representatives were saying things to the effect why not make MoonPies the state dessert, or Beretta with its new plant in Tennessee, the state handgun. I’ve included a bit of the resolution here, but you can read it in its entirety.
WHEREAS, one such noteworthy product is the Barrett Model M82/M107, a rifle born from sketches hand-drawn at a dining room table by its then twenty-seven-year-old designer, who was born, raised, and educated in Tennessee; and
WHEREAS, the M82/M107 has been continuously manufactured in Tennessee since its inception in 1982; and
WHEREAS, the M82/M107 was the first successful .50 caliber semi-automatic rifle to be widely fielded in active military service; and
WHEREAS, in the past one hundred years, the designer of the M82/M107 is one of only four individuals who have invented rifles that were officially adopted by the United States military; and
WHEREAS, since then, the M82/M107 has been used by long-range competitive shooters and law enforcement, and has been adopted by over fifty American allied countries throughout the world; and
WHEREAS, the M82/M107 pioneered an entirely new classification of rifle, changing battlefield tactics; it is recognized as the world’s premier .50 caliber rifle