Alaska governor signs bill protecting gun rights in emergency

Alaska governor signs bill protecting gun rights in emergency
AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty, File

We don’t talk much about Alaska here.

Part of that is that it’s a pretty small population, especially in relation to its size. The other part is that they’ve been pretty pro-gun for a long time. There weren’t ways to become more pro-gun and there wasn’t much interest in going the other direction.


But saying there weren’t many ways to be more pro-gun doesn’t mean there weren’t some grounds for improvement. On Saturday, Gov. Mike Dunleavy signed a bill designed to do even more to protect Alaskans’ right to keep and bear arms, particularly during an emergency.

From an NRA press release:

The National Rifle Association (NRA) celebrates a significant victory today for Alaskans and the Second Amendment. Governor Mike Dunleavy has signed House Bill 61 into law, marking the first major pro-Second Amendment legislation passed in the state in the last decade. This comes ten years after House Bill 24, the “Stand Your Ground” law, which Governor Dunleavy supported by voting ‘yea’ in his first year as a state senator, was enacted on April 11, 2013.
House Bill 61, championed by Speaker Cathy Tilton and backed by the NRA, is a groundbreaking law that safeguards the rights of firearm businesses and gun owners during states of emergency. The bill prohibits state and local government entities from closing lawful firearm businesses or restricting individuals’ access to firearms, ammunition, and component parts during declared states of emergency. The bill passed with bipartisan legislative support and its Senate companion was carried by Senator Scott Kawasaki (D).
This legislation provides a critical protective shield for our fundamental rights during states of emergency, reinforcing the core principles of the Second Amendment. It not only supports gun owners but also ensures legal recourse for those who experience unjust infringements on these rights.
The NRA, representing millions of members across the nation, applauds Governor Mike Dunleavy for his unwavering support of our Second Amendment rights and for signing this pivotal legislation into law.
“Today is a remarkable day for Alaskans, NRA members, and Second Amendment advocates,” says Aoibheann Cline, NRA Alaska State Director. “This bill is not just legislation; it’s a protective shield for our fundamental rights during states of emergency, reinforcing the core principles of the Second Amendment we deeply respect and uphold. Today is indeed a great victory for all freedom-loving Alaskans.”

I’d love to believe this isn’t necessary. In Alaska, it probably isn’t. However, we’ve seen too many other places where it may be needed. We’ve also seen at least one instance where it actually was needed, particularly in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

No one should be stripped of their right to keep and bear arms as a general thing, but especially during an emergency. I get that people freak out during civil unrest and difficult times, but the moment you start trying to take guns in some misguided attempt to maintain civil order, you’re just doing the opposite. You’re fueling the very unrest you’re trying to quell.

That’s because then the bad actors out there know the good guys don’t have guns.

In Alaska, they understand this. This bill will make sure that even if the voting demographics of our largest state by landmass, the right to keep and bear arms will remain preserved, even in an emergency.

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