By: José Niño
On July 29, 2023, Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy signed House Bill 61 into law. This legislation, which was supported by House Speaker Cathy Tilton, protects the rights of firearm businesses and gun owners during states of emergency.
HB 61 bars state and local government bodies from shutting down firearms businesses or hampering individuals’ access to ammunition, firearms, and component parts during times when the Alaskan government declares a state of emergency.
The bill received bipartisan support as evidenced by Democratic State Sen. Scott Kawasaki’s sponsorship of said legislation in the Senate. In signing this bill into law, Dunleavy ushered in the most significant pro-gun reform in the state since the enactment of House Bill 24, the state’s “Stand Your Ground” law, on April 11, 2013. At the time, Dunleavy was a state senator in the Alaska Legislature (2013-2018). From 2018 up until the present, Dunleavy has served as Alaska’s governor.
HB 61 effectively safeguards Alaskans’ God-given rights during periods when the government declares a state of emergency, further bolstering the principles surrounding the Second Amendment. The legislation not only backs gun owners but also provides them with legal remedies in the case that they experience violations of their gun rights during a state of emergency.
Such legislation is prudential during a time rife with political opportunism. After all, politicians are notorious for abiding by former Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s dictum of “never letting a serious crisis go to waste.” In light of the presence of these nefarious actors, certain forms of legislation must be passed to check their power and keep these politicians in line.
Alaska has been one of the more pro-gun states in the nation. According to Guns & Ammo magazine’s “Best States for Gun Owners” rankings, Alaska is ranked in 10th place. Alaska made waves back in 2003 by passing Constitutional Carry — the idea that any lawful individual can carry a firearm without a permit without having to beg the government to do so. In passing such legislation, Alaska became the second state in the nation with Constitutional Carry, after Vermont, which had a peculiar state Supreme Court decision in 1903 that established unlicensed carry.
With Alaska passing its latest pro-gun reform, its pro-gun image will continue to shine as an example for other states to follow.
José Niño is a freelance writer based in Austin, Texas. Contact him via Facebook, Twitter, or email him at [email protected]. Get his e-book, The 10 Myths of Gun Control, here. Subscribe to his Substack newsletter here.