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Coghill rewrites derided gun bill

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Posted: Tuesday, March 19, 2013 11:59 pm | Updated: 6:39 am, Wed Mar 20, 2013.

JUNEAU — The Alaska Legislature made national headlines when the House passed a bill that proposed to arrest federal employees who tried to enforce new gun laws.

The law was called “unconstitutional and unenforceable” by the Legislature’s legal aides and derided on cable talk shows.

But a rewrite of the bill by Sen. John Coghill, R-North Pole, seeks to not only make the bill constitutional while maintaining its purpose, but also expands it to oppose federal indefinite detention.

Instead of arresting federal employees who are trying to do a job that Alaska doesn’t agree with, the rewrite denies state and municipal resources to the federal government in any case where the feds are attempting to impinge on the Second Amendment or deny Alaskans due process.

“I like the idea of taking on the federal government on something that’s unconstitutional,” Coghill said at a committee hearing last week, adding that he felt the original bill would be met with legal challenges. “So I thought of other ways of doing it. I think it helps take the assets of Alaska and puts them to work.”

Federal agents often rely on aide from local or state law enforcement units for cases, and this would prevent local police or state troopers from helping.

The same would go for anything that has to deal with the infringement of due process.

Indefinite detention of Americans under the federal National Defense Authorization Act has been a hot political topic among Alaskans. People worry the provisions allow the federal government to detain citizens without due process, and the repeal or reversal of those provisions often has come up at political forums in Fairbanks.

Coghill introduced the opposition to indefinite detention in a bill last week but opted to combine it with House Bill 69, which already has passed the House.

Today, the Senate

Judiciary Committee, which is chaired by Coghill, will be taking public testimony on the new rewrite of the bill at 1:30 p.m., but that time could be delayed with the floor debate on oil taxes.

To testify from Fairbanks, visit the Fairbanks Legislative Information Office, on the third floor of the Alaska USA Federal Credit Union building at 1292 Sadler Way.

Contact staff writer Matt Buxton at 459-7544 and follow him on Twitter: @FDNMpolitics.

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