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In a Major Victory for Gun Safety, Alaska Legislature Adjourns Without Passing Bill Forcing Guns Into Schools


JUNEAU, Alaska — The Alaska chapter of Moms Demand Action, part of Everytown for Gun Safety’s grassroots network, issued the following statement after lawmakers adjourned the legislative session without passing SB 173, a bill that would have required schools in Alaska to assign certain teachers, staff, or volunteers the duty of carrying a gun at school. By also granting immunity to schools and people participating in the program, the bill would have made it harder for victims and survivors to get justice if someone gets hurt or killed by these guns being forced into schools.

“This session is a testament to the hard work of gun safety advocates on the ground, defeating a reckless measure to force guns into schools and put our children in harm’s way. Every year, we continue to show that the facts are on our side in Alaska and that our movement is strong,” said April Rochford, a volunteer with the Alaska chapter of Moms Demand Action. “We commend our gun sense champions who introduced common-sense gun safety legislation, such as secure gun storage and extreme risk laws. Throughout the session, we made great progress moving the conversation forward in Juneau and building support for measures that put an end to gun violence as we know it. It’s safe to say that if our legislators didn’t know us already, they do now.”

This session, lawmakers in the Senate State Affairs Committee heard, but did not pass, SB 229, an extreme risk (or “Red Flag”) bill sponsored by Senator Löki Tobin. The measure would have allowed a judge to temporarily remove a person’s access to guns when there is evidence that they pose a significant risk of harming themselves or others if they have access to firearms. Under this proposal, a law enforcement officer, family member, intimate partner, or household member can petition the court for a gun violence protective order to prevent a person in crisis from accessing guns. Twenty-one states have life-saving extreme risk laws. More information about Extreme Risk Laws is available here

In an average year, 171 people die by guns in Alaska. With a rate of 23.3 deaths per 100,000 people, Alaska has the third-highest rate of firearm suicide deaths and the fifth-highest rate of gun deaths in the nation. Alaska has the 25th-highest rate of gun homicides in the US. Gun violence costs Alaska $2.5 billion each year, of which $44.5 million is paid by taxpayers. More information about gun violence in Alaska is available here