Alaska House passes gun control exemption bill

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February 26, 2013


By Alex Murray

JUNEAU, Alaska: The state of Alaska may soon be at odds with the federal government regarding the enforcement of gun control laws passed in response to the Sandy Hook school shooting last December.

The GOP-controlled House of Representatives voted Monday to pass House Bill 69 31-5 following an emotionally-charged debate. Sponsored by Speaker Mike Chenault (R), the legislation would exempt guns and ammunition from new federal laws on Second Amendment grounds, making it a felony for federal employees to attempt to enforce them in the state.

Opponents of the bill questioned its constitutionality, particularly in regards to the clause placing the U.S. Constitution above state law. Legislative counsel Kathleen Strasbaugh issued an opinion on January 30, stating that the bill is likely unconstitutional due to the supremacy clause.[1] Andy Josephson (D) said that supporting the bill would violate his oath of office, likening the legislation to secessionism. Supporter Gabrielle LeDoux (R) countered by citing the lack of federal response to recent state marijuana laws. Democrats also expressed concern over the fate of state officers in the event of a conflict with federal agents.

Due to the absence of bill proponent Scott Kawasaki (D), the bill will be subject to a revote on Wednesday before moving on to the Alaska State Senate.[2]

Alaska is one of 24 states with a Republican trifecta.

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