THE ANCHORAGE DAILY PLANET
If you are among those who believe Alaska is such a conservative state that no politician ever would pose a threat to Second Amendment rights you might take a moment to review House Bill 62.
Introduced by Democratic Reps. Geran Tarr, Harriet Drummond and Andy Josephson all of Anchorage, it would, among other things, require “physicians, psychologists, psychological associates, social workers, marital and family therapists, and licensed professional counselors” to annually report to a “central registry” all “serious” gun threats – even if that information is not corroborated. What would be “serious” is not clear.
Such statutes are known as “red flag” laws and this one would give “physicians, psychologists, psychological associates, social workers, marital and family therapists, and licensed professional counselors” incredible power over those who own guns.
Never a hotbed of gun rights advocates, information from the health care industry would be used in building the state threat “registry.”
MustReadAlaska.com points out: “Social work is intrinsically political by virtue of the fact that it is concerned with social change and a quest for social justice,” according to a paper published in the SocialWorkHelper, a publication of the International Journal of Social Welfare.
So, the very people those in crisis need to trust and talk with openly would be required to report their rants to a central state registry. Under the bill, the health care professionals “may” withhold the names of those involved. Or they may not.
Imagine, if you will, someone in the middle of a messy divorce uttering something angry and stupid to their psychologist, who then, if this proposal were to become law, could report them to the “registry.”
Peace officers, under this proposal, also would be able to petition a court for a “gun violence protective order,” allowing them to take guns from people until a later court hearing if they deem them to be “in crisis.”
If the proposed legislation were to pass – and one can only hope most Alaska legislators are too concerned with concepts such as fair play and due process to allow that – Alaska would join 11 other states in enacting a red-flag law since the shooting at Parkland, Fla. on Feb. 14, 2018. Connecticut was the first state to pass such a law, after a mass shooting in 1999, and it has been used more than 1,500 times since its passage.
Such laws are clear invitations to abuse, the House proposal perhaps more so than others because it requires reporting, not proof. Unless and until such laws provide for adequate due process and punishment for false reporting, they simply are yet another way to grab guns.
Alaska lawmakers should reject House Bill 62 because it fails on all counts.
MustReadAlaska.com notes the bill is in the House Judiciary Committee, which is chaired by Rep. Matt Claman, who rated 43 percent by the National Rifle Association on gun rights issues.