House Judiciary chair says there won’t be a gun control law this session

Rep. Matt Claman, D-Anchorage, talks to reporters at a House Majority press availability in March. Claman said Thursday that House Bill 75 will not pass this legislative session. The bill is intended to allow Alaska judges to order temporary seizures of guns from people they find likely to be threats to themselves or others. (Photo by Skip Gray/360 North)

The only gun control measure the Alaska Legislature was debating will not pass this legislative session.

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The bill is intended to allow Alaska judges to order temporary seizures of guns from people they find likely to be threats to themselves or others.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Matt Claman said Thursday that not enough committee members supported House Bill 75.

Claman said the bill foundered on disagreements with the National Rifle Association. Especially over not requiring the subject of the gun violence protective order to be present for the judge’s hearing. These are known as ex parte hearings.

“The bottom line was the National Rifle Association wasn’t willing to support a bill that allowed the ex-parte order to seize weapons,” Claman said.

Claman said it’s not practical.

“If you call them up and say, ‘Well, let’s go down to court and talk about what’s going on,’ you’re kind of inviting somebody who’s not acting rationally, who may have significant psychiatric issues, and has a gun, you’re kind of inviting them to go off and start doing tragic things, just because we’re trying to give them a chance to be heard in court,” Claman said.

The NRA could not immediately be reached for comment.

Claman said he would continue to work on the issue after the session. This could lay the groundwork for revisiting the legislation next session. Other state legislatures are considering similar bills.