Q&A with Alaska U.S. House candidates: Do you support gun control legislation?

The Anchorage Daily News asked candidates for U.S. House running in the special primary election to answer a series of questions. Read all of their responses here.

Do you support gun control legislation? If so, what kind of measures would you support? If not, why not?

Jay R. Armstrong (R)

I’m running for U.S. Congressman for Alaskans. Outside of U.S. military bases and ports, courthouses, post offices and buildings used for constitutional purposes, the U.S. has no authority to make legislation of any kind regarding our firearms. We have an obligation and responsibility to protect ourselves, our families, schools, churches, communities, villages, cities and state. If Americans can give $54 billion for this mess we started in Ukraine, we can afford to fund states to put police in schools to protect children. Stop watching and reading fake U.S. news; it’s propaganda.

Nick Begich (R)

I oppose gun control legislation. I strongly support our Second Amendment rights and will defend our right to keep and bear arms.

Chris Bye (Libertarian)

No, a cookie cutter, one-size-fits-all draconian rule will not stop stupid, nor fix heinous. Any rules or regulations to be enacted should be made at the lowest local level, state and below.


Arlene Carle (nonpartisan)

Article II of the Constitution: “...the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” Chicago and New York have some of the strongest gun control laws in the country and the worst gun crime records. Obviously, gun control laws have not worked. Laws only control lawful people. Criminals should be prosecuted and removed from society. It’s the hand holding the gun that must be controlled.

Santa Claus (undeclared)

See (my response to the question “What do you think should be done by the federal government to address mass shootings?”) and pass Alaska HB 62 (2019): “An Act relating to gun violence protective orders; relating to the crime of violating a protective order; relating to a central registry for protective orders; requiring physicians, psychologists, psychological associates, social workers, marital and family therapists and licensed professional counselors to report annually threats of gun violence; relating to the powers of district judges and magistrates; amending Rules 4 and 65, Alaska Rules of Civil Procedure, and Rule 9, Alaska Rules of Administration; and providing for an effective date.”

John B. Coghill Jr. (R)

I support the Second Amendment. Our background check system is something I could work with to improve.

Christopher S. Constant (D)

I am in favor of universal background checks, red flag laws and magazine capacity restrictions. In the wake of the Uvalde, Texas shooting, I thought about the purpose of assault-style rifles. These are battle-style weapons that are routinely used in mass shootings. We must protect human lives, first and foremost. I am in favor of ending the sale of assault-style weapons.

Otto H. Florschutz III (R)

No. We need to ensure that honest and law abiding people continue to have access to guns.

Thomas “Tom” R. Gibbons (R)

No, guns are a tool. The people that are not right in the head are the problem! “Oh, but it’s not their fault.” B.S. There have to be consequences for your actions.

Al Gross (nonpartisan)

I am for common sense regulations. We need to restore a sense of responsible gun ownership — as Alaskans know well — by ensuring background checks are thorough, sufficient, and mandatory. I agree with the American Academy of Pediatrics’ positions to fund gun violence prevention research at $35 million for the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and $25 million for the National Institute of Health, and to allow family members or law enforcement to petition a judge to temporarily remove firearms from a person deemed at high risk of harming themselves or others.

Andrew J. Halcro (nonpartisan)

I support tightening background checks and any provision that equally protects the Second Amendment while ensuring we stop these senseless mass shootings.

John Wayne Howe (Alaska Independence Party)


I do not support gun control legislation. All gun control laws are unconstitutional. We need less gun laws, not more. Yes, even fully automatic weapons should be legal. My ideas are not mainstream; they are Alaskan ideas. To see more Alaskan ideas, please see my YouTube channel, “Alaska for Alaskans.”

Jeff B. Lowenfels (nonpartisan)

I have a bullet in my neck — I was shot when I was 24 by five little kids. Yes, it is obvious we need a better way: universal background checks for all, including private shows, require a license for purchase, reinstate manufacturer liability, impose strong red flag laws.

Mike Milligan (D)

I support reasonable gun legislation, which is apparently out of reach due to a minority of Americans that believe mass shootings are a reasonable “price of freedom.” A clear majority of Americans favor background checks for all gun transfers. Many of these mass shooters are males under the age of 25 that don’t have girlfriends. Police wear body armor even though it won’t stop a .50 caliber round — does that mean they shouldn’t wear body armor until it is able to stop a .50 caliber round? Unless you are guarding a meth lab, you really don’t need a weapon of war. Lose weight and get a girlfriend instead.

J.R. Myers (Libertarian)

No, I don’t support gun control legislation. Our Constitution forbids the federal government from doing this, and I oppose it at the state level. A well-armed citizenry is necessary for a vigorous national defense.

Sarah Palin (R)


No. The horrific crime that occurred in Uvalde, Texas is precisely why the right of law-abiding citizens to keep and bear arms — that is, to defend themselves and their loved ones — must be preserved.

Silvio E. Pellegrini (undeclared)

I am a staunch proponent of the Second Amendment and regard these issues to be systematic and highly complex, requiring unique and tailored solutions for their unique nature. E.g., information-sharing through fusion centers, multi-governmental cooperation agreements for directed enforcement of standing laws and performing analysis of these tragedies to determine the best course of action that does not infringe on constitutional liberties. We must remain calm, collected, and support those in need before remotely attempting to implement any controls without causational and measurable outcomes.

Mary S. Peltola (D)

Guns are a part of Alaska’s culture and a core tool of a subsistence lifestyle. I grew up hunting, my husband is a big game hunting advocate and I will continue to own guns and support the right of Alaskans to own guns. But it’s past time our nation’s leaders put forth more than just words to address the grief we all share. We can take common sense action, and we must. Provisions like secure storage laws, reasonable waiting periods and universal background checks can make all of us safer while still preserving the rights guaranteed by the Second Amendment.

Tara M. Sweeney (R)

Binary questions like this make it difficult, if not impossible, to have a serious conversation on this issue without alienating the parties who must be at the table. That said, I am a steadfast supporter of Alaskans’ Second Amendment rights and could not support measures that would infringe on the constitutional rights of law-abiding citizens.

Adam L. Wool (D)

I support enhanced background checks, safe storage and red flag laws. Of course, the details on these types of legislation matter. We need to take some kind of action to reduce gun violence. Most gun deaths do not occur at mass shootings, but are from suicide and lower-profile incidents.

• • •

Multiple candidates did not respond to this survey question. They include:

• Dennis “Denny” W. Aguayo (nonpartisan)

• Brian T. Beal (undeclared)


• Tim Beck (undeclared)

• Gregg B. Brelsford (undeclared)

• Robert Brown (nonpartisan)

• John T. Callahan (R)

• Lady Donna Dutchess (nonpartisan)

• Laurel A. Foster (nonpartisan)


• Karyn Griffin (undeclared)

• Ted S. Heintz (Libertarian)

• William “Bill” D. Hibler III (nonpartisan)

• David Hughes (undeclared)

• Don Knight (nonpartisan)

• Robert “Bob” Lyons (R)

• Anne M. McCabe (nonpartisan)

• Mike E. Melander (R)

• Sherry M. Mettler (undeclared)

• Emil Notti (D)

• Robert Ornelas (American Independent Party)

• Joshua C. Revak (R)

• Maxwell Sumner (R)

• David Thistle (undeclared)

• Ernest F. Thomas (D)

• Richard “Clayton” Trotter (R)

• Bradley D. Welter (R)

• Jason G. Williams (undeclared)

• Jo Woodward (R)

• Stephen Wright (R)