Today in Anchorage, it was a bag of mixed feelings. Some saw it as a good thing for the State House to pass House Bill 69, while others thought it was a waste of time because of a federal law that supercedes anything the state can do.
This bill states any new federal gun laws passed by Congress or imposed through executive order by the President are unenforceable in Alaska and if any federal officers try to enforce them, they would be committing a Class C felony. Jacob Ballard, a gun owner from Anchorage, likes what members of the State House did Monday.
"It's a step in the right direction because even if it's not going to be enforced, it takes a stand," Ballard said.
But would the proposed Alaska law stand up in court?
"It's more of a statement than it is an actual law that can be expected to be enforced because there are some very serious legal questions whether such a law would be constitutional or the federal law would trump the state," Anchorage NRA member and attorney Wayne A. Ross said.
Critics of the proposed law say it would run head-long into a conflict with the U.S. Constitution and the authority of the federal government.
"It's important to know that the constitution of the United States says that it's the supreme law of the land," Former Alaska US Attorney Robert Bundy said. "It's called the supremacy law and that means in areas where Congress has the authority to legislate, it's legislation trumps any state law legislation."
Today, the State House made its stance clear--it's not going to back down. This could make for an awkward work environment for those federal employees in Alaska whose job it is to enforce federal laws. But Mike Graham, with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, doesn't think it would be a big deal.
"We have a very good relationship with local law enforcement and the Alaska State Troopers," Graham said. "We are continually working together to combat violent crime, putting criminals in jail and I don't see anything like this interfering with our relationship."
For now, many state lawmakers are ready to stand their ground--in case Congress decides to fire-off new gun control laws.
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