April Rochford, co-leader of the Alaska chapter of Moms Demand Action, dropped off a petition supporting gun safety to Sen. Lisa Murskowski’s office on Friday, June 3, 2022. (Matthew Faubion/Alaska Public Media)

Gun safety advocates delivered a petition to Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s Anchorage office on Friday asking for gun safety legislation.

April Rochford co-leads the Alaska chapter of Moms Demand Action. She said last week’s school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, has made their work feel even more urgent.

“I have two kids, and my older son is 10, so he’s the same age as the kids that died last week,” she said. “So that one hit really close to home.”

The group has three requests for senators. The first is to expand background checks for all gun sales. Last year, the House passed a bill to expand background checks, but the Senate hasn’t voted on it yet.

The second is to pass a federal “red flag” law, which would allow authorities to temporarily take guns away from people who pose a danger to themselves or others. Representative Geran Tarr, a Democrat from Anchorage, sponsored a statewide red flag bill, HB 122, during the last session. Rochford said she’s hopeful Alaskans could support those kinds of measures.

“I think if people just open their minds a little bit and look at the actual bills themselves, they’ll see that they’re acceptable,” she said.

The third is to confirm Steve Dettelbach to lead the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. He’d be the bureau’s first Senate-confirmed leader since 2013, and he’s received bipartisan support since President Biden nominated him in April.

Rochford said it’s important for Alaskans to get involved in the national conversation about gun safety legislation.

“People in the Lower 48 don’t quite understand the way that all types of Alaskans use firearms for protection, or as part of their culture for hunting,” she said. “That’s why it’s really important for Alaskans to be part of the conversation.”

Sen. Murkowski’s office did not reply to a request for comment.

The Alaska chapter of Moms Demand Action is also hosting an event tomorrow afternoon at Cuddy Family Park in Anchorage. The event will include speeches from gun violence survivors and state representatives advocating for gun safety legislation.

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Katie Anastas, Alaska Public Media – Anchorage
2022-06-04 00:06:18
Alaska Public Media
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