Gun Advocates in Alaska Wary of New Federal Gun Control
As Obama readies new proposals, states take gun laws into their own hands.
ANCHORAGE - The national debate on guns is likely to shift Wednesday morning, when President Obama delivers a package of proposals to deal with gun violence.
“Most of our customers are coming in here and buying most of this equipment out of fear,” Steve McDaniel said. As owner and operator of Alaska Tactical and Security for more than 30 years, his business has been brisk for weeks. But it’s been driven by what he calls a “knee-jerk” reaction to concern over new federal gun laws. It’s a debate he’s seen before.
“When something like this happens, people always want to blame the utensil and not the individual,” he said. “It's very typical when it comes to firearms, its been that way forever, its always what’s blamed is the gun.”
After mass shootings in Colorado and Connecticut, guns are again at the forefront of the national debate. As President Obama plans to reveal new proposals to curb gun violence Wednesday, many states aren't waiting to follow the federal government’s lead.
In New York, the toughest gun control laws in the country have just been signed into law by Governor Andrew Cuomo. They expand the state's existing assault weapons ban, limit the amount of ammunition that can be stored in a single magazine, and expand the background checks necessary to obtain a gun.
Elsewhere, several red states are moving in the opposite direction. In Wyoming, legislators say they're working on laws designed to protect existing gun rights, by making it illegal to enforce any new federal gun laws within their borders.
And the Texas legislature plans to hear a bill that would appoint a "school marshal" from among a given school’s faculty, and train them to use and carry a concealed weapon.
While Alaska doesn’t have any new gun control bills filed for the upcoming legislative session—only one bill pertains to guns, House Bill 55, and it focuses on letting school districts allow teachers to train for a concealed carry permit—McDaniels and other gun advocates in Alaska think more laws are not the answer.
“It’s just like, if I want to jump out of an airplane, so, I need some formal training,” he said. “Or I'm going to do some diving and I need some one to show me how to do it, it’s the same thing with guns.”
The White House today said the new proposals could include reinstating the assault weapons ban from 2004, as well as introducing a ban on magazines holding more than ten rounds.
The president’s proposals are also expected to touch on mental health care, school safety, and violent media.