JUNEAU, Alaska. — The Alaska chapters of Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action, both part of Everytown for Gun Safety’s grassroots network, released the following statement applauding the Alaska House for introducing life-saving legislation. House Bill 162, introduced by Rep. Andy Josephson would create an Extreme Risk law, which temporarily removes firearms from those who pose an immediate threat to themselves or others. HB 164, introduced by Rep. Ashley Carrick, would require the secure storage of firearms when a child or prohibited person may be able to access them.
“This legislation is a critical step in addressing gun violence as the public health crisis it is,” said Jan Caulfield, a volunteer with the Alaska chapter of Moms Demand Action. “Firearms are the leading cause of death among children and teens in Alaska, and it’s time our lawmakers take action to put an end to these preventable deaths. We are glad to see these measures introduced and urge legislators to work together to addressand gun suicide and gun violence in Alaska and pass these life-saving measures.”
Nineteen states and the District of Columbia now have Extreme Risk laws on the books, including red states like Florida which passed its Red Flag law shortly after the school shooting in Parkland, Florida. These laws empower loved ones or law enforcement to seek intervention via a civil order to temporarily prevent someone from accessing firearms if they are displaying warning signs that they may be a danger to themself or others.
Passing secure storage would change the landscape of gun violence in Alaska. Seven in ten unintentional shootings by children occur in a home. A study on storage practices showed that households that locked both firearms and ammunition had an 85 percent lower risk of unintentional firearm injuries among children and teenagers than those that locked neither.
In an average year, 173 people die by guns in Alaska. With a rate of 23.6 deaths per 100,000 people, Alaska has the 4th-highest rate of gun deaths in the US. Gun violence costs Alaska $2.5 billion each year, of which $44.5 million is paid by taxpayers. More information about gun violence in Alaska is available here.