As the Alaska legislature returns to Juneau for the start of the 2022 legislative session, lawmakers will again have the opportunity to pass common-sense gun safety bills. Gun violence prevention is more important than ever in the new year as the pandemic continues to exacerbate gun violence and after a year of increased gun sales, increased risk of suicide and domestic violence, and an increase in city gun violence.
During the last legislative session, lawmakers in Alaska neglected to pass a secure storage bill. This year, lawmakers should prioritize the safety of children and schools and advance HB 203, bipartisan legislation to make sure that firearms are securely stored when not in use. For years, Alaskans have heard the same devastating story across the state in Sitka, East Anchorage, Anchorage and more — a child gets ahold of an unsecured firearm and devastation follows. Thankfully these tragedies aren’t inevitable. Securely storing firearms can prevent these shootings.
What to know about gun violence in Alaska:
- In Alaska, on average, 174 people are shot and killed with a gun every year, and 332 more are wounded. The state also has the highest rate of gun deaths in the country, and gun violence has increased nearly 20% in the last decade.
- Firearms are the leading cause of death for children and teens in Alaska. 61% of all gun deaths among children and teens are suicides. Alaska also has the second highest rate of unintentional shootings by children, and the highest rate of gun suicide among young people.
- Gun violence costs Alaska $1.1 billion each year, of which $42.8 million is paid by taxpayers.
If you have questions, or to request an interview with a volunteer from Alaska Moms Demand Action or Students Demand Action, please don’t hesitate to reach out.