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Alaska Beat

Resist any US effort to restrict gun ownership, says Alaska lawmaker

  • Author: Craig Medred
  • Updated: September 27, 2016
  • Published January 16, 2013

Alaska Speaker of the House Mike Chenault has introduced a bill to criminalize efforts by federal officials "to enforce any new restrictions on gun ownership," according to the Associated Press.

The proposed bill was introduced the same day President Barack Obama announced 23 executive actions aimed at reducing chronic gun violence, developed in the wake of the deadly elementary school shooting in Newton, Conn., that took the lives of 20 students. The president's plan calls for more background checks and restrictions on the sale of military-style assault weapons with high-capacity magazines.

"Tragedy is not a license for federal encroachment of constitutionally protected freedoms. We can all agree that what happened in Newtown, Connecticut was an absolute tragedy. But what we fundamentally disagree on is how you meet the challenge," Chenault said in a prepared statement released on his website. "The president is using it to further his liberal agenda to try and disarm and disenfranchise law-abiding Americans from their enshrined Second Amendment rights. No one should be comfortable with that, regardless of where you sit on the issue."

According to Chenault, House Bill 69 proposes "to charge any federal employee trying to execute one of the president's executive orders with a misdemeanor. The bill is similar to ones proposed in Wyoming and Texas." Read the full text of the bill here.

Chenault wasn't the only Alaska politicians denouncing Obama's actions. Rep. Don Young had plenty of reservations, too.

"This is a dangerous limitation on a family's ability to defend itself in the event they're threatened. Perhaps in cities where the police response time tends to be more rapid, it is easy to forget how important a firearm is to keeping loved ones safe. However, in rural America where law enforcement is many miles away, a semi-automatic weapon could mean the difference between life and death.

"I continue to meet with colleagues on both sides of the aisle to discuss ways to address mental health and keep guns out of the hands of madmen, all without infringing on responsible gun owners' Second Amendment rights."

Sen. Lisa Murkowski echoed her congressional colleague.

"Alaskans have mourned with all Americans at the tragic, senseless deaths in recent years but we do not believe those emotions should cloud our resolve to protect our Constitutional right to bear arms. I have spoken with gun owners, shopkeepers and hunters in Alaska in recent weeks and share their concerns that the rights and opinions of responsible citizens are not being fully respected in this conversation.

"Alaska has shared the pain experienced by people of Newtown, Columbine, and other communities around the country. We suffered a tragic school shooting in Bethel in 1997. So while I appreciate the president's input in the name of school safety, I want Alaskans to know this needs to be a far wider discussion, and Congress is the rightful place for laws to be debated fully and crafted."

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