The state Senate adopted a resolution on Friday which would create an official West Virginia State Firearm. The choice is the Hall Model 1819 Flintlock Rifle.
Senator John Unger proposed the resolution and had one of the rare rifles on hand in the Senate Chamber Friday, loaned by the National Park Service in Harper’s Ferry.
“The Hall Flintlock Model of 1819 was the first breechloaded rifle to be adopted by any nation’s military,” said Unger. “Hall’s rifle had a block at the breech that could be lifted out and allow the operator to insert the powder and bullet. It was faster and easier to load.”
The firearm was produced at the National Armory in Harper’s Ferry by John H. Hall. It was adopted for use by the US Army in 1819 and was one of the standard firearms for US Army infantry all the way through the Civil War.
“John Hall’s rifle was the first entirely machine made weapon ever devised,” Unger told lawmakers in touting the resolution. “This is a very historic rifle and my understanding is there are only three known to be in existence.”
The rifle from the Harper’s Ferry National Historic Park is still fired at least once a year. Unger said the rifle pictured on the state seal is believed to be a Hall Model 1819 Flintlock.
Members of the Senate unanimously approved the resolution.