U.S. Rep. Peltola breaks with Democrats in efforts to block pistol brace and gas stove regulations

WASHINGTON — Alaska Rep. Mary Peltola broke with the majority of her fellow Democrats this week to support GOP-led bills aiming to block energy and gun-related regulations.

Two of the measures focus on heading off regulations on gas stoves. Peltola co-sponsored both measures and voted alongside 28 Democrats in favor of the bills. The White House “strongly” opposes the bills, but has not issued veto threats.

The first bill, the Gas Stove Protection and Freedom Act, would restrict the Consumer Product Safety Commission from using federal dollars to ban gas stoves. While some Democratic-controlled cities, like Berkeley, California, have attempted to restrict gas stoves, pointing to climate and health concerns, the White House has said it has no intention of doing so.

The second gas stove-related bill, the Save Our Gas Stoves Act, would stop a Department of Energy proposed rule tightening energy efficiency standards for stoves and ovens.

Peltola said she backed the bills “because access to gas and propane-compatible stoves is important to Alaskans” and cited worries that the gas stove regulations could increase Alaskans’ energy costs.

“While there may not be a significant effort to take gas stoves off the market now, I want to make it clear that this freedom is important to our state,” Peltola said in a statement. “Government has more important things to focus on than our kitchens.”

Democrats voting against the bill — such as Rep. Frank Pallone of New Jersey, the ranking member of the Energy and Commerce Committee — argued that concerns about gas stove regulation are overblown.


“I would urge, let’s be practical about this and let’s not just take a hatchet to this commission, this agency, that over the years has protected us in so many ways,” Pallone said in a floor speech.

Alaska Republican Sen. Dan Sullivan has also jumped into the gas stove debate, introducing the Save Our Gas Stoves Act in the Senate, saying in a statement the Biden administration has “restricted energy production at nearly every opportunity.”

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A separate Peltola-backed effort would undo a Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives rule that reclassifies pistols with stabilizing braces as rifles and requires owners to register them with the government. Republicans argued that the rule oversteps gun owners’ Second Amendment rights.

Peltola, a vocal supporter of gun rights, voted for the resolution alongside moderate Democratic Rep. Jared Golden of Maine, who regularly bucks his party. All but two Republicans also backed the measure. The Biden administration has threatened to veto the legislation.

Peltola said the pistol brace rule “could turn large amounts of law-abiding Alaskans into felons.”

“Firearm access is deeply important to Alaskans for a variety of purposes, including hunting, sport, and self-defense,” Peltola said in a statement. “... I don’t believe it’s right to put stabilizers that were originally created for disabled veterans in the same category as machine guns under the National Firearms Act.”

Peltola’s Democratic peers, on the other hand, opposed the resolution and pointed to instances where mass shooters have used pistol braces, including the March school shooting in Nashville that killed six people.

“How many more lives will be lost because Republicans refuse to acknowledge that these weapons are a favorite of mass shooters for their ability to make a gun both deadly and concealable?” New York Rep. Jerry Nadler said on the House floor.

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Riley Rogerson

Riley Rogerson is a reporter for the Anchorage Daily News based in Washington, D.C., and is a fellow with Report for America. Contact her at rrogerson@adn.com.