President Barack Obama yesterday signed off on nearly two dozen executive orders meant to curb gun violence. These orders launch a gun ownership safety campaign, require the Centers for Disease Control to examine the causes of gun violence, and call for law enforcement officials to receive better training for active shooter scenarios.
He also called on Congress to pass a ban on assault weapons. But Alaska lawmakers have introduced a bill that would circumvent any stronger gun control measures.
The Alaska Firearms Freedom Act would make it a crime to enforce any federal prohibitions on things like assault rifles and high-capacity gun magazines. A previous version of the bill already passed the House in 2010, and similar legislation is being introduced in states like Texas and Wyoming. But whether a ban on federal gun control measures would even be legal is in serious doubt. Adam Winkler is a professor of constitutional law at UCLA and the author of the book Gunfight. He says that under the supremacy clause of the Constitution, the federal government could just choose to ignore the Alaska law if it passes.
House Speaker Mike Chenault is sponsoring the bill. He says that it sends a strong message about federal overreach. And he knows that the courts could find the bill to be unconstitutional.
The bill to ban gun bans isn’t the only piece of legislation related to gun control that’s been filed. Representative Bob Lynn, a Republican from Anchorage, introduced legislation on Friday that would create a process by which teachers could carry guns in schools if they’ve undergone training and possess a permit. It appears that the bill may actually be more restrictive than current law, and it has been sent back to the state’s legal services division for review.
- Kenneth Manzanares, 39, is charged by a federal grand jury with one count of first-degree murder in the death of his wife, Kristy Manzanares, also 39, aboard the Emerald Princess cruise ship in Southeast Alaska.
- The federal government is moving forward with its review of Hilcorp's proposal to drill offshore for oil in the Arctic.
- A series of promising oil discoveries and a recent move by the Trump administration mean the vast, remote National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska is about to get a lot more controversial.
- Details are emerging slowly on the fire at the Peter Pan Seafoods processing plant in Port Moller. The 100-year-old plant caught fire late Tuesday night, and the blaze continued to burn Wednesday. The full scope of the damage is still unclear, but witnesses say it is extensive.