Gun rights protection during state emergencies? Speaker Cathy Tilton has a bill for that


A few years ago, legislation to protect Americans’ civil rights during emergencies might have been thought redundant. After all, there is the U.S. Constitution.

Then came Covid-19, and Americans watched their civil rights of free speech and the right to move and associate freely dissolve in lockdowns, shot mandates, and business shutdowns.

Now, lawmakers in Alaska want to make sure that such executive emergency orders in the future do not infringe on Alaskans’ Second Amendment rights, if ever a governor in Alaska decided that was a good idea.

The Alaska House Community and Regional Affairs Committee this week moved House Bill 61 to the House State Affairs Committee for consideration. There are no other committees of referral before it reaches the floor for a vote.

The bill sponsor, Speaker Cathy Tilton, is joined by Reps. Kevin McCabe, Sarah Vance, Craig Johnson, Ben Carpenter, Mike Prax, Stanley Wright, George Rauscher, Tom McKay, Mike Cronk, Justin Ruffridge, and Dan Saddler as cosponsors.

House Bill 61 prohibits state and local governments from closing lawful firearm businesses or restricting an individual’s access to firearms, ammunition, and component parts during declared states of emergency, unless closures and limitations apply to all forms of commerce equally.

The bill will prevents anti-gun officials in liberal enclaves from interfering with Second Amendment rights under the cloak of a declared emergency, when citizens may need guns and ammunition the most. Further, the bill provides legal recourse for people who experience unjust infringements on their Second Amendment rights.


  1. We only need to look back at Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans to see how this could come to fruition. In that case, the only ones allowed to have firearms were criminals (they weren’t actually allowed, but criminals don’t obey laws). This is needed for our protection.

    • haven’t read the bill, but the article only implies that businesses will be protected from closure during an emergency declaration. This doesn’t sound like they have verbiage in there to protect the average joe from having their guns confiscated like what happened during Katrina.

      • As I read the bill it is drafted very well and should protect Alaskans even if a disaster happened when an anti-2A person like Tony Knowles was Governor. And between the US Supreme Court’s Bruen decision of last year and the Alaska Constitution Alaskans should be OK no matter what. But read the bill for yourself and if you see an oversight suggest an amendment to someone in the House State Affairs Committee because that is where the bill will next be heard. If you want an amendment first run it by whomever in Speaker Tilton’s office is assigned to the bill. Getting a bill through the Senate may not be nearly as easy.

    • Jim, that was my first thought upon reading this article as well — the unconstitutional and authoritarian rounding-up of firearms in New Orleans in the aftermath of Katrina. For which the official perpetrators have never yet faced justice.

      • Law enforcement no longer knows how to determine lawful from unlawful. Heck they don’t follow law saying they need cameras.
        I’ve been disarmed at every single conversation with law enforcement for officer safety. Which is odd since I’ve never shot anyone.

      • Where in the Constitution does it state that the Bill of rights is suspended during a declared emergency?

  2. As we have seen, drug use increases ten fold in a national emergency. It is only fair that we should be able to protect our families during such disasters. The law can’t do everything, or be everywhere. Looting almost always has been prevalent during such times, and doesn’t always occur on vacant property.

  3. I’m not sure that I see a need for this bill. Who, but a complete idiot, would wait for an emergency to have his/her guns and ammo available to them?

    • As described by the bill sponsor, in the event of a natural disaster, a person might lose access to their firearms or ammo (recent flooding on the coast that washed through homes was an example given). That is the kind of thing that the bill may be needed for. – sd

    • It is also to prevent the authorities from confiscating guns from private homes for “safety” in the event of an emergency.

    • What if you lost some firearms or ammo in the next earthquake? You should have every right to resupply yourself from one of the gun stores.

    • “………Who, but a complete idiot, would wait for an emergency to have his/her guns and ammo available to them?”
      In the days following the COVID shutdown in March of 2020, and again following the first riots after the George Floyd manslaughter, gun stores across America had lines stretching down the streets of folks (I believe you accurately described them as “idiots”) trying to buy guns and ammo. Our ammunition supply system still hasn’t fully recovered, now three years later, and partially because a complete nation of “idiots” (Ukraine) didn’t have enough ammo to repulse the inevitable and predictable invasion from Russia. Our own government (previously and regularly proving themselves to be “idiots”) is now manufacturing ammo in no less that five re-opened military munitions plants by the metric ton to ship to Ukraine, thereby making our own domestic supply problems continue.
      In the meantime, the “emergencies” keep coming, and are now overlapping…………
      Unlike most foods, guns and ammo can easily be stored for well over a lifetime. Anybody who hasn’t already done so might be an “idiot”……..

  4. Examples of such an infringement can be found in Los Angeles and Ventura counties in California, where county officials determined that gun stores were not ‘essential’ businesses, and must therefore be closed during the Great Wuhan China Lab Virus Panic and Lockdowns of 2020. Bike shops (!), on the other hand, were determined to be essential, and thus could remain open. A three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected those executive orders, finding that the Second Amendment “means nothing if the government can prohibit all persons from acquiring any firearm or ammunition.” An Alaska statute is needed to codify and clarify the preservation of the “right of the people” found in the constitutions of both the U.S.A. and the State of Alaska, particularly during declared states of emergency.

    “Experience should teach us to be most on our guard to protect liberty when the government’s purposes are beneficent. Men born to freedom are naturally alert to repel invasion of their liberty by evil-minded rulers. The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well-meaning but without understanding.” – Louis D. Brandeis, Former Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States

  5. Regardless of a bill, I believe the governor still would have rights to declare an emergency and say, if it was a gun control emergency, such as what happened during Katrina, then they could temporarily suspend second amendment rights. If the governor can’t do it the president surely can and the president can pick and choose which states he wants to implement it in, he doesn’t have to make it abroad sweeping move Nationwide.

      • It was pretty much mayhem down there but you can read about that. I don’t think they went so far as to declare martial law but they could have. Remember all the raping that was going on? If somebody had something that you wanted they just tried to take it from you. People couldn’t stay in their houses because the attics were underwater. Maybe this was all before your time.

        • You’ve just described why each citizen needed a firearm. Yet you are in favor of the police confiscating them. Who had their weapons seized? Homeowners and citizens of course NOT the criminals.
          Canada sounds like a better fit for your way of thinking.

          • What I am in favor of is allowing the police to do their job in a crisis situation. When everything is falling down around you, and in today’s political climate, it can be difficult for the police to pick and choose their targets yet that is what we are asking them to do. It would be so much simpler if they saw a guy with a gun, then they would know that that was a bad guy. But I am an advocate for self-defense. People who know me know that and I would find it very difficult to give up my guns but if it was the law, I would do that.

          • You are blatantly anti gun. You think the police will come and protect you in the aftermath of a disaster like Katerina? They can’t come in time to protect you right now! You actually made the statement ‘It would be so much simpler if they saw a guy with a gun, then they would know that that was a bad guy’. So a bad guy is anyone with a gun? Really! And so willing to give up your firearms just because you’re told to. Not even willing to follow the Constitution. When the looters come to your house and the cops don’t, how will you protect yourself and your property? YOU won’t.

    • The President can’t either, after Katrina an amendment was passed preventing it.

      42 U.S.C 5207 Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act

      The President (and governor) can certainly claim the power to do so, but they have no legal authority. Any such order given would be illegal out of the gate.

      In any event, implement how, exactly?

      There are only about 2 million total cops and military in local, state, and federal government service, many of the latter stationed overseas, many of the former concentrated in just a few big cities.

      Even assuming every single one was available, evenly distributed across the country, and complied with the unlawful order, it is logistically impossible to effectively go “door to door” and systematically search for firearms in a nations of hundreds of millions with hundreds of millions of gun owners.

      The Katrina seizures only happened due to effective compliance by those so treated, who had chosen to stay rather than evacuate and who could thus be searched as they were placed onto evacuation vehicles and into shelters.

  6. Any member of the legislature who votes against this should be questioned intensely for their reasons.

  7. Now do the same thing for churches. Even tho it’s in the bill of rights that the govt shall make no law establishing a religion nor prohibit the free exercise thereof, the govt did exactly that. And while they’re at it protect ALL businesses. The govt should have no power to close businesses.

    • This is spot on

      The political class must be stripped of their power it’s just amazing that on a whim with no reasoning they can redefine words dictate how you get your groceries home and what you must wear while at the grocery store.

      Outlawing you from seeking mental health support for your children.
      Deciding that at 19yrs old you’re not old enough to make the decision to buy tobacco but if you want to mutilate your body in your mid teens it’s not only allowed it must be encouraged

  8. Even if they are already available, there is always the answer to the question “How much is enough?”
    And the answer is always “MORE!”
    Especially when the gubment attempts to shut down the economy and society.

  9. This is a complete waste of time. The law of the land, the United States Constitution, was completely and utterly violated when our rights to free assembly, our rights to engage in legitimate commerce, and our rights to travel freely between the states. The very idea that enough people bowed down to this tyranny when it occurred was a stark reminder that freedom is clearly being removed from the common citizen. Passing this useless piece of legislation is a waste of time and a charade. Power over us is being stolen through illegitimate laws that violate the constitution being upheld by a corrupt judiciary and continual hidden taxes in our everyday lives that steal our earnings to support an ever expanding bureaucracy that is more interested in sustaining itself than serving the people. Edicts issued during and “emergency” are specifically FORBIDDEN in the Alaska state constitution if they violate the rights guaranteed therein.

  10. In other news, state representatives Forrest Dunbar (D-Gomorrha) and Zack Fields (D-Looneytown) have introduced legislation to guarantee state funding for an expanded program of public drag queen performances, with a focus on introducing drag queen displays in the public schools.

  11. Like Jim said above, hurricane Katrina popped into my mind. In the aftermath of that storm, with limited travel and limited police presence, cops went door to door and confiscated legal firearms under ’emergency’ orders. Just when those firearms were needed most (looting was widespread) they were being taken away from law abiding citizens leaving them with no way to protect themselves from criminals. I doubt most Alaskans would give up there firearms but it should never come down to a police standoff, especially after a disaster.

        • Oh that’s not true Polly. Just look at the LA riots. Look at Seattle and Chicago. It’s human nature to do whatever you have to do to survive. Katrina was a survival situation. Under the circumstances I may have broken into a store myself and stole a couple of cans of spam. I wouldn’t have taken advantage of the situation like some did, and still televisions and washing machines and microwaves and see a woman walking down the street and take advantage of her. That is what happened if you remember the story in the Superdome. Although they are movies, try watching thunderdome, or Omega Man or Soylent Green. I think you need a lesson on him and nature and sadly that can’t be provided unless you’re willing to spend the night or two in downtown Portland, unarmed of course.

          • Seattle and Chicago have made firearms so rare that the only people with them are cops and criminals. That means that honest citizens were legally prevented from the most efficient means of self defense.
            Oh, and the rapes in New Orleans after Katrina? That was taking place INSIDE the Superdome. All personal firearms were barred form the premises so the women there were not allowed to protect themselves.

    • And they brought in cops from out of state (Komissars from the glorious People’s Republic of California.. CHP affectionately described by regular cops there as Can’t Handle Policework)

  12. Alaskans already have laws on the books protecting our Second Amendment freedoms from executive orders during “emergencies” to prevent Katrina-like illegal actions by government agents.

    Title 26. Military Affairs, Veterans, and Disasters. Chapter 23. Disasters.
    AS 26.23.200. Limitations. Nothing in AS 26.23.010 – 26.23.220 (5) authorizes the confiscation of a firearm lawfully owned, possessed, or carried by a law-abiding citizen.
    AS 26.23.205. Confiscation of Firearms.
    (a) A person convicted of official misconduct under AS 11.56.850, or interference with constitutional rights under AS 11.76.110, as a result of confiscating, attempting to confiscate, or ordering the confiscation of a firearm, under color of law, during a disaster emergency,
    (1) forfeits any appointed government position and, if under the jurisdiction of the Alaska Police Standards Council, is subject to revocation of the person’s police certification;
    (2) is subject to impeachment under art. II, sec. 20, Constitution of the State of Alaska; or
    (3) is subject to having the person’s elected municipal office declared vacant under AS 29.20.170 or 29.20.280.
    (b) This section does not apply if the person is acting as a private citizen who has been directed to confiscate a firearm by another whom the person reasonably believes to be a peace officer or active member of the armed forces or militia.
    (c) A conviction described in (a) of this section is an offense involving a violation of the oath of office for purposes of AS 29.20.170 or 29.20.280.

  13. 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, like promoting school shooting conspiracies, inciting political violence, and helping Jones stay at a healthy weight.

    • Thanks for the advice there dog, but most of us are quietly well prepared for most conceivable disasters such as storms/earthquakes or collapse of local governments. What we really fear and cannot possibly be prepared for is search and seizure operations conducted by our own government.
      Do you have your list of dangerous neighbors all ready to turn over to the ‘proper authorities’?

      • Paul, what you are imagining will never happen. You really should think through the reality of your espoused opinions on the matter. The Government isn’t coming for you (provided of course that you’re a law-abiding Citizen).

        But even if they did, do you actually think your firepower would overwhelm them, and you’d win the day? No, I didn’t think so either.

        • The government came for the firearms after Katrina, so I guess they do ‘come for you’ when they see fit.
          You have NEVER had even a smidgen of firearms training let alone any military training, so what makes you an expert on what a citizen with a firearm can do? Even up there in granola land you should be able to find a special forces soldier (current or retired). Their job is to train and conduct operations with individuals with minimal prior experience. Ask them what they have accomplished with these units in the past. You have NO idea what you’re talking about here.

    • Good luck surviving in King county if the shtf ever comes. I take it you wont be ever leaving there if the time comes and we are all on our own.

      • I’ll take my chances, thanks. It’s better than arming myself to the teeth, and hiding out in my backyard bunker with all of my webcams switched on. Geez.

        • Yep the dog way. Bend over for whoever says they’re in charge. If you were around in the late 1700’s we’d still be drinking tea and using pounds instead of dollars.

  14. What I am in favor of is allowing the police to do their job in a crisis situation. When everything is falling down around you, and in today’s political climate, it can be difficult for the police to pick and choose their targets yet that is what we are asking them to do. It would be so much simpler if they saw a guy with a gun, then they would know that that was a bad guy. But I am an advocate for self-defense. People who know me know that and I would find it very difficult to give up my guns but if it was the law, I would do that.

    • I own quite a few, and nice ones at that. But honestly, they mean nothing to me, and if I could get decent compensation for them, I’d get rid of them. Sure could use the additional closet space…

      Anyone in the market for some nice Belgian Browning Auto 5’s?

  15. It’s sad, but somewhat reassuring (because it’s become necessary), someone in the Alaska legislature sees fit to clarify and/or reaffirm the constitutional protections already outlined in our country’s founding document. No emergency, be it meteorological, medical or political, warrants the infringement of individual rights!

  16. “the bill provides legal recourse for people who experience unjust infringements on their Second Amendment rights”

    Sounds great! Add to the bill- “a $900,000 fine for each infringement and $500,000 fine per day until the infringement is rectified.” To sweeten this: the fines are levied to the individuals who are enforcing or ordered it enforced, personally. Not to state/local governments. This will make those who attempt violating to think twice. The violators need to held accountable through their own wallets/purses. Any monetary/legal resources/help provided by any state or local entity will be construed as a conspiracy to infringe and those guilty will be fined as well.

  17. I sat home through Harvey in the middle of Houston. Glad that I was armed while the brave “heroes” of HPD protected the Galleria down the street, and the storage of the big jewelry place down on Richmond. While a “mere civilian” patrolled a strip mall carrying a hunting shotgun and kept the looters away.

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