Fri, Jan. 24

Senate votes to make Colt single action revolver the official Arizona state handgun

PHOENIX -- 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. 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.'

Driggs said his opposition -- he was one of only three Republicans who opposed the measure -- is not based on any animosity to the company. "I even have a Colt 45,' he said.

SB 1610 now goes to the House.

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