You can leave keys in the snow machine. You can leave your keys in the truck. But with a proposed bill by two Fairbanks lawmakers, it would be a crime to leave a gun unlocked in your home if something terrible happened with that gun. House Bill 203 has been offered by Rep. Adam Wool and Rep. Steve Thompson, and once again, puts the personal safety of Alaskans in the crosshairs.
HB 203 is intended to prevent firearm accidents. Law enforcement officials would be able to issue a citation of up to $1,000 if there’s a death or even an injury with a firearm, if police can determine a firearm that was unlocked.
Many women, but also men who keep guns in their homes might be ill-served by government telling them they must keep those firearm in a locked case.
Referred to House State Affairs and Judiciary committee, the bill is sure to be controversial. It’s likely that the NRA will oppose the legislation, as it has done in other states. It would be surprising to see the legislation pass in Alaska, and even more surprising to see this governor sign it.
“This bill has bipartisan support as it should since all are affected when a child dies or is injured by an unsecured firearm,” said Wool, a Democrat from Massachusetts who represents Fairbanks. “If this bill prevents one accident or suicide then we’ve accomplished a great thing.”
“Representative Wool and I are both parents of young children, and we care deeply about their safety. House Bill 203 is all about promoting safety,” said Rep. Steve Thompson, the Republican co-sponsor of the bill. “This bill is not an infringement of Second Amendment rights, and it’s not about taking guns away from anyone. It’s about preventing tragic accidents and only gets acted upon if such a tragedy occurs.”
Since 2019, the Seattle has a “Responsible Storage ” that requires gun owners to keep their guns in a locked container when not being carried by them or under their control, and imposes fines for crimes committed with an unlocked stored gun.
HB 203 will be heard by the State Affairs Committee and Judiciary Committee. Rep. Andy Josephson of Anchorage has signed on as a cosponsor.