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HomePoliticsGun rights bill passes House: No gun restrictions in declared emergencies

Gun rights bill passes House: No gun restrictions in declared emergencies

A bill to prevent the government from prohibiting sales of guns and ammunition during government-declared emergencies has passed the House.

House Bill 61 is a response to situations that occurred throughout the country during the Covid‐19 pandemic, with the various declared emergency provisions that shuttered many businesses.

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In at least five states, including Alaska, and the Municipality of Anchorage, firearms retailers were arbitrarily closed by governors and mayors.

When it comes to firearms Alaska is different compared to most other states, the bill sponsor House Speaker Cathy Tilton said. Firearm use for protection and subsistence predates Alaska’s statehood and the application of the Second Amendment.

HB 61 reaffirms Alaskans’ right to survive and protect themselves, along with their rights granted to them through the Second Amendment.

HB 61 stipulates that the state, municipalities, and other instrumentalities of the state may not implement new restrictions to access firearms, ammunition, firearms accessories, or shooting ranges resulting from disaster declarations.

The bill also provides a civil remedy to Alaskans, should any of those entities adopt statutes, ordinances, or policies in violation of the provisions of this bill.

Voting against the Second Amendment rights of Alaskans were Rep. Jennie Armstrong of Anchorage, Rep. Ashley Carrick of Fairbanks, Rep. Alyse Gavin of Anchorage, Rep. Andrew Gray of Anchorage, Rep. Sarah Hannan of Juneau, Rep. Rebecca Himschoot of Sitka, Rep. Donna Mears of Anchorage, Rep. Genevieve Mina of Anchorage, and Rep. Andi Story of Juneau.

Suzanne Downing
Suzanne Downing
Suzanne Downing had careers in business and journalism before serving as the Director of Faith and Community-based Initiatives for Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and returning to Alaska to serve as speechwriter for Gov. Sean Parnell. Born on the Oregon coast, she moved to Alaska in 1969.


  1. Given that the bill, while ostensibly trying to protect the rights of gun stores, doesn’t actually include gun stores on the list of those who can file suit for having their rights violated under the bill, there is likely a better bill to use to show support for the 2nd Amendment.

    Likewise, since the bill prohibits the state and state agencies from restricting gun stores from operating, but then doesn’t actually allow for the governor and state agencies to be sued if they violate the bill and impose those restrictions anyways, who is it really helping?

    Finally, the bill prohibits shutting down gun stores, but then specifically allows the shutting down of gun stores as long as others stores get shut down too. If there is one thing we learned from the pandemic, it is that lockdowns and shutting down businesses doesn’t work. It just steals market share from the businesses getting shut down and gives it to the businesses that the government still allows to remain open.

    Why would we want to put into state law, for the very first time, the idea that government can shut down gun stores under ANY reason, or that shutting down the economy is a valid and constitutional way for the government to operate? These aren’t all the problems with this particular bill, just some of the notable ones.

    It is also notable that some of my Republican colleagues in the house repeatedly took the position on the house floor that this is NOT a bill that relates to the 2nd Amendment. I think what they said was silly, but there you have it. Probably not the best bill to hold up as a robust defense of the 2nd Amendment.

  2. Thank You Cathy Tilton—House Speaker. You have always represented us well.. Feel free to run for any future office you want, you will always have mine and others support..

  3. It was a broken bill (allowing th e shutting down of gun stores). I hope it got amended to be something good.

  4. When will people wise up? The 2nd Amendment “grants” no rights! The Constitution, via the 2nd Amendment “recognizes and acknowledges” the individual RIGHT to bear arms. A “right” is not granted by a government, it comes from a higher Power (call it what you like!). Anything that requires a license or permit to practice, is not a right, it’s a privilege, one that can be revoked by the same level of authority that granted it. RIGHTS cannot be granted, nor can they be taken away. RIGHTS can only be surrendered! Once surrendered, you won’t be “voting” them back, and that also applies to your RIGHT to speak or worship freely!

    • SkyTrooper, you nailed it. The act or “need” to create further legislation only waters down the very clear constitutional right. Guns are not a privilege, but a right. Like the right to breathe. Legislators, quit trying to confuse the waters. And remember the names of the legislators listed above and vote them out of office.

  5. Thanks, Suzanne, for listing those “representatives “ apposed to a bill that obviously had the majority of Alaskans in favor of. Even in their districts.

    • Really, the one thing Suzanne ever does well is be disparaging and target hate at people and you thank her for it? Maybe she can start being a real journalist at somepoint?

  6. “HB 61 reaffirms Alaskans’ right to survive and protect themselves, along with their rights granted to them through the Second Amendment.”

    This is a mistaken premise: the 2nd Amendment DOES NOT grant us rights. Our rights DO NOT come from gov’t, the right to self-defense comes from Natural Law and the Creator [see: Declaration of Independence].

    What the 2nd Amendment promises [but broken over and over again] is that the federal gov’t will not interfere with our God-given, PRE-EXISTING rights.

    That’s a big difference.

    That Alaskans used their NATURAL LAW rights before statehood is a “Duh” statement. So did everyone else before their states were part of this warped union.

    • Keep your illusions to yourself. If you want to live in a theocracy you should move to someplace like Iran or Saudi Arabia. We live in a country governed by a godless, secular Constitution that provides for freedom OF religion and freedom FROM religion. Your ownership of a firearm doesn’t come from some unseen, unprovable deity in the sky. It comes from the Founding Fathers.

      • Actually, it’s a natural right and comes from no man. It’s pretty simple to understand.

        Are you saying a person’s right of self preservation only comes from government?

      • cman is once again, completely wrong.
        There is a fundamental human right to self defense against threats, both personal and political. It is a right conveyed on all human beings by their creator. And for the godless, their creator is their parents, so do not dismiss that statement.
        The founding fathers did not convey that right. Nor does the 2nd Amendment.
        If you were to actually read the Bill of Right, they convey no rights at all. What the Bill of Rights does is place strong restrictions on the Federal Government to not infringe on the fundamental human rights. Rights like choosing what religion to follow, or self defense, or knowing what you are accused of, by whom, and being able to see the evidence.
        The Constitution does not give a freedom of religion. It prevents the government from stopping you from following the religion of your choice.
        Try actually reading the Constitution before you state what is in it.

  7. No State in the Union should write a law the outlines anything related to the 2nd Amendment. The entire problem is that State Legislatures have consistently violated the Constitution of the United States in many areas and have oppressed the people with a complete lack of “representing” the citizens. Each citizen in this country has God given rights from birth. That means what God has freely given, no government should violate. Yes, we need laws that regulate specific commercial enterprises and punish crimes. But we ventured away from Natural Law and implemented Universal Law. The United States was never meant to water down the Constitution with foreign legal practices. We are to stand alone on the Constitution and anything egregious to it are null and void. “Shall not be infringed”, seems pretty clear to me.

  8. Ahh, more government to protect us from the government…….

    Here’s a thought, maybe don’t shut down from a plandemic.

    Have more faith in God and a little less in man. Probably best to just go ahead and not trust most people in government.

  9. Just look back at Hurricane Katrina and that should solve any questions about suppressing the 2nd Amendment during emergencies, natural or manmade.

  10. Ed Martin Jr May 4, 2023 At 3:28 am
    Your comment is awaiting moderation
    Nevertheless, ” the MEEK shall inherit the earth ” regardless of gun rights. All the while Guns add to fertilizer & lead distribution ! Deceptive words = Lies! Thank you all for your comments your Lord appreciates them. Truth saves lives.

  11. Perhaps Ms. Tilton focused more on stopping the government from picking the winners and the losers as occurred during Covid-19 farce. As such, this legislation should apply to all business establishments rather than simply stores that trade in guns/ammo.

    Perhaps some of the noted shortcomings might be addressed in conference by Senate…though I suppose those folks are less inclined to pursue this course.

    I still believe Joe Vogler was right….

  12. Honestly, I don’t see the point of the legislation. A well-prepared Patriot will already have several thousand rounds and a full assortment of firearms cached in his or her bunker.

    And for all your other Doomsday essentials, be sure to visit Alex Jones’ InfoWars store, where you can purchase all manner of useful items. Happily, the profits support great causes, inciting political violence, and helping Jones maintain his healthy weight.

    • Whidbey, I edited out your joke about school shootings. Please take care. – sd

      • Editor – it wasn’t a joke – it was intended as damning satire, since money sent to Alex Jones does just exactly what I said.

  13. Dog

    I am asking for your reply to a question I have for you, posed without sarcasm, and needing for an honest answer.

    Why do you chose to stay in America? You have continued to run down the Constitution and the way of life our society has developed. You make fun of the most die hard supporters of the Constitution. When the idea that a socialist/communist way of life is just around the corner if we do not put up candidates that keep with American values, you appear eager to great the new ‘masters’.

    Can you explain this to me or am I miss reading you?

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