Protesters call for gun control at event featuring Murkowski, Young

Protesters at an event featuring U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski and U.S. Rep. Don Young are quickly ushered out of the room on Monday, Feb. 19, 2018. (Photo by Elizabeth Harball/Alaska’s Energy Desk)

A Monday night Anchorage event headlined by U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski and U.S. Rep. Don Young was interrupted by a small group of protesters, calling for action on gun control.

“You’ve got blood on your hands! You’ve got blood on your hands!” one protester said.

The event was intended to be a victory lap for Murkowski and Young, who were at the Anchorage Petroleum Club speaking about successfully opening the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge for oil development.

“The thing that we really want them to know is that the blood money with NRA is not going to go over any longer,” protester Joni Bruner, who is with Alaska Grassroots Alliance, said.

One protestor refused to leave the building, and Anchorage police were called.

According to the protesters, no arrests were made.

After the event, Murkowski told reporters there aren’t easy answers when it comes to curbing mass shootings, such as the one that happened Feb. 14 at a school in Florida.

“I am so torn as a lawmaker, as a parent, as an Alaskan and clearly a supporter of the Second Amendment,” Murkowski said. “But I think we have not dealt with our present day reality, which quite honestly is an unacceptable reality.”

Murkowski added that dealing with mental health issues must be the first step in addressing mass shootings.

According to Murkowski’s spokesperson, the senator is planning on co-sponsoring legislation to provide grants for training in schools aimed at preventing future violent incidents.

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Elizabeth Harball is a reporter with Alaska's Energy Desk, covering Alaska’s oil and gas industry and environmental policy. She is a contributor to the Energy Desk’s Midnight Oil podcast series. Before moving to Alaska in 2016, Harball worked at E&E News in Washington, D.C., where she covered federal and state climate change policy. Originally from Kalispell, Montana, Harball is a graduate of Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.

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