Missouri is showcasing a piece of its history by making a rifle an officially recognized state symbol. A new state law makes the historic Hawken rifle Missouri’s Official State Rifle.

The provision was sponsored by Rep. Mazzie Boyd, R-Hamilton. She said the idea came from Dekalb County Commissioner Kyle Carroll.

“He is a part of a lot of muzzle loading groups and a lot of old historic gun groups,” said Boyd. “We were just kind of talking about the Hawken rifle. Of course, the Hawken was created in St. Louis. He was like, ‘Kentucky and Tennessee are honoring their rifles that they had created, Missouri should honor the Hawken rifle and make it the official state rifle.’”

The muzzle-loading rifle was created to meet the needs of fur trappers, explorers, and traders in the 1800s and it was very important to the economy at the time.

“Jacob and Samuel Hawken, they were brothers, actually created the rifle,” explained Boyd. “I believe they actually learned gunsmithing from their father during the fur trade era. Missouri was really the opening of the west where St. Louis was. At that point, you had the fur trade going on, and this really just helped expand it. It was also really important to Missouri’s economy.”

Boyd is hoping more people learn about this part of Missouri’s history, now that it’s an official state symbol.

“I’m always big in honoring our history,” said Boyd. “I think it’s really important, especially just what goes on in our own state. I mean I love Missouri. I think Missouri’s the best state ever. I might be a little biased, but I think it’s important that we teach our younger generation, and just other generations, what makes Missouri so great.”

According to Missouri House Communications, Missouri becomes the 10th state to have a firearm among its state symbols.

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