Chenault's bill would bar enforcement of new gun laws

House Speaker Mike Chenault, R-Nikiski, answers questions during a House Majority news conference on the first day of the Alaska State Legislature in Juneau, Alaska on Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2013. Rep. Craig Johnson, R-Anchorage, watches at right.

JUNEAU — A bill introduced in the Alaska House on Wednesday would make it a misdemeanor for a federal official or agent to try to enforce any new restrictions on gun ownership.

HB69, from House Speaker Mike Chenault, was introduced the same day that President Barack Obama unveiled a package of executive orders and legislative proposals aimed at curbing gun violence.

Obama's proposals, which follow last month's deadly shooting at a Connecticut school, include background checks for all gun sales and a ban on assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines. His 23 executive orders touched on such things as gun safety, background checks and mental health.

Chenault, in a news release, said work on his bill began before Obama's announcement Wednesday.

"Tragedy is not a license for federal encroachment on constitutionally protected freedoms," he said. "We can all agree that what happened in Newtown, Conn., was an absolute tragedy. But what we fundamentally disagree on is how you meet the challenge it presented.

"The president is using it to further his liberal agenda to try and disarm and disenfranchise law-abiding Americans from their enshrined Second Amendment rights," he said. "No one should be comfortable with that, regardless of where you sit on the issue."

His bill would deem unenforceable federal laws, orders, rules or regulations enacted or effective on or after the effective date of his bill that seek to ban or restrict ownership of a semi-automatic firearm or magazine, or that require a firearm, magazine or firearm accessory be registered. The bill says any federal official, agent or employee who tries to enforce any such provisions is guilty of a Class B misdemeanor.

Chenault, R-Nikiski, said he is building on a measure that passed the state Legislature in 2010, that exempted personal firearms, accessories or ammunition manufactured in Alaska from federal law or regulation, including registration.

HB69 has an immediate effective date, but Chenault plans to work with a House committee to make the effective date retroactive to Jan. 1, should the bill pass.

The measure had at least 11 Republican co-sponsors by late Wednesday afternoon.

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