JUNEAU, Alaska. — The Alaska chapter of Moms Demand Action, part of Everytown for Gun Safety’s grassroots network, released the following statement after lawmakers adjourned the legislative session after passing HB 61, a bill that could impede sensible measures to ensure public safety and maintain order in times of emergency.
“As firearms continue to be the leading cause of death among children and teens in Alaska, it’s shameful that legislators failed once again to consider common-sense gun safety measures,” said Jan Caulfield, a volunteer with the Alaska chapter of Moms Demand Action. “It’s disheartening to witness legislators wasting time on a gun lobby measure while neglecting the pressing need for comprehensive gun safety provisions such as secure storage and Extreme Risk measures, which are proven to save lives and prevent senseless acts of gun violence.”
HB 61,which is now at the Governor’s desk, aims to prohibit the governor, a state agency, or a municipality from imposing restrictions on firearm possession, use, or transfer during a declared disaster emergency. This includes the temporary closure of gun stores or ranges in such situations unless the closure applies equally to all commerce. This stands in stark contrast to the gun safety measures proposed earlier this session, including an Extreme Risk law to temporarily disarm individuals posing immediate threats to themselves or others, as well as secure firearm storage to prevent access by children or prohibited individuals. Session concluded without either of these measures receiving a hearing.
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.