Letters to the Editor

Letter: Gun safety bills

Two House gun safety bills were presented to our legislators in the last session. Both have been waiting since last April and May for a go-ahead to be heard by the House Judicial Committee. A Senate gun safety bill was presented in February and is waiting to be heard by the Senate State Affairs committee.

In the meantime, a Senate bill was introduced and readily heard in March that would require public schools to have armed school personnel and/or volunteers on school premises. Note that Anchorage schools already have public safety officers who patrol their schools. Public testimony, live and written was allowed. Most written testimony opposed this action, many of those comments preferred seeing gun safety laws enacted.

HB 162-SB 229 are gun violence protective orders. It is an extreme-risk law that allows a peace officer or household member to petition a court to temporarily remove guns from someone who poses an immediate threat to themselves or others.

HB 164, the Alaska Child Access Prevention and Secure Storage of Firearms Act, would require a gun owner to store their gun(s) in a locked container or with a gun lock or other means that would prevent access from a person under 18 or a person who is prohibited from having a gun.

These bills intend to curb unintentional gun deaths/ injuries, gun suicides and homicides, particularly among youth.

As reported by Alaska’s Department of Health 2019 Biannual Youth Risk Behavior Survey, almost 50% of Alaska high school students report having access to a loaded gun. More than 25% of these students say they had seriously considered suicide in the previous year.

In Alaska, anyone over the age of 18 can own a gun; no permits or safety education are required. Our state is dependent on hunting; permits and regulations are in place for hunters. Our state is also very guarded of its Second Amendment right to own a gun. Gun safety laws do not infringe on hunting or owning a gun. It is past time for our legislators to take steps to protect our youth from gun violence.


Write your representative and ask when these bills will at least be heard in the House Judicial Committee, which would allow for public testimony and comment.

— Therese Lewandowski


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