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House rejects bill to name the Winchester 1876 the state firearm

The North Dakota House has rejected a resolution to designate the Winchester Model 1876 as the state firearm, after an emotional speech by a Native American House member.

It had been passed by the Senate. And the House Political Subdivisions Committee recommended it pass on a 9 to 5 vote.

Supporters said that model gun was a favorite of Theodore Roosevelt. But Rep. Jayme Davis (D-Rollette) – who is Native American – gave an emotional argument that the bill should not pass. David told the House the gun was used to kill buffalo.

"And did it ever," Davis said. "It killed so many buffalo that it almost wiped them out."

Davis said by doing so, it had a direct correlation to the welfare of the indigenous people.

"My people," Davis said. "Tribes relied on buffalo for food, tools, medicine and shelter. We used every single part of the buffalo."

Davis said that forced Native Americans to rely on government food, rations and housing. And she said the gun was used to kill Native Americans as well.

"The hurt I feel by having such a gun celebrated can only be shared by asking you to imagine us voting on celebrating something that wipes out your livelihood, or a weapon to kill your family," Davis said.

Davis said her opposition is not about guns in general.

"It's about this gun, and versions of, and its full history," Davis said. "It shouldn't be celebrated now or ever."

The vote was 34 yes, 59 no.

The resolution is SCR 4010.