Alaska politicians to blow off steam at gun range

JUNEAU, Alaska — With about three weeks left in Alaska’s legislative session, the pressure is mounting on politicians to get things done. A heated partisan divide on oil tax reform, the state’s budget and education in Alaska’s Capitol has tempers rising for both Democrats and Republicans.

So what’s the best way to ease the tension? Get them all together, and give them each a weapon.

The gun control debate may divide Republicans and Democrats in Washington, but in Juneau, most legislators in both parties are adamant supporters of the Second Amendment. And on Saturday, some of them will head over to the Juneau Gun Club to blow off steam — and reach across the aisle — during this year’s “Legislative Shoot.”

The annual event, which is put on by the Alaska Correctional Officers Association and also sponsored by the Outdoor Heritage Foundation, pits three-member teams against each other in competitions like trap shooting, pistol shooting and archery.

All levels of experience are welcome, and despite the event’s title, the competition isn’t limited to the lawmakers. Legislative aides, a handful of people from the executive branch, and family members are all invited to compete or enjoy the festivities.

“It’s mainly a really fun event, and it’s a great opportunity for everybody to come out and see the club and have a nice breakfast and participate in the event and, you know, just kind of unwind a bit,” said Rep. Cathy Munoz, one of the event’s organizers in the Legislature.

Munoz said the legislators who represent rural districts are typically very good, but the Juneau Republican noted that Jessie Kiehl, a legislative aide in Sen. Dennis Egan’s office, Republican Rep. Paul Seaton, of Homer, and Senate President Charlie Huggins are some of the best shots. Huggins, R-Wasilla, was on the winning team last year.

Participants form their own teams, and many use the event as an opportunity to find common ground with members from the other caucus. Both sides say they don’t compete to see which one has the best marksmen.

“The teams are pretty bipartisan,” Munoz said. “It’s not like an all-Democrat team and an all-Republican team.”

Legislators put politics aside to go bowling every Thursday night and have mixed-party teams as well, but the shoot is an especially successful event, said Rep. Chris Tuck.

“It’s a good moment to build camaraderie among everyone,” said Tuck, D-Anchorage. “It’s fun, you get to make fun of each other’s shooting.”

But Tuck says this year is going to be especially interesting. Since redistricting brought in a handful of freshman legislators eager to participate for the first time, the competition will have plenty of new blood. The veterans aren’t sure which newcomers have a shot at the title.

“The variables are going to be high,” Tuck said.

One veteran of the event, House Minority Leader Beth Kerttula, can’t make this year’s shoot but still talked some smack.

“I’ve outshot a lot of those guys, and they’re lucky I’m not coming,” the Juneau Democrat joked.

Talk to us

More in Local News

A 1.2-mile stretch of 236th Street NE near Arlington will be fully closed May 31 through Sept. 2 for a road project. (Stillaguamish Tribe of Indians)
Months-long closure ahead for 236th Street NE near Arlington

The Stillaguamish Tribe of Indians is widening lanes, adding a separated shared path and improving wildlife crossings.

Nate Nehring (left) and Sam Low.
Snohomish County’s LGBTQ Pride proclamation gets no GOP support

Councilmember Nate Nehring said it would violate his “personal conscience” by “celebrating particular lifestyles.”

Denny’s employee hospitalized after shooting south of Everett

A group of people was asked to leave. Someone fired a gun. A suspect was arrested.

2 teens arrested after Everett shooting, 100 mph chase

A young man was shot in the leg at an apartment near Voyager Middle School, where kids were being released for the day.

Pair identified in apparent murder-suicide in Everett

Police believe a man killed a woman, then himself. No arrests were made. No suspects were believed to be at large.

Law enforcement stand guard at the front driveway to Cascade High School as multiple agencies attempt to track down a suspect who reportedly had a firearm near campus Friday, May 27, 2022, in Everett, Washington. Dozens of concerned family members arrived to the school and stood along Casino Road waiting to find out what was happening. An airsoft pistol was recovered during a security sweep. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Apparent threat at Cascade High turned out to be airsoft gun

Two Everett schools went into lockdown Friday as police conducted security sweeps of their campuses.

Hydraulic fluid from a Waste Management garbage truck damaged roads in Mountlake Terrace June 23, 2021. The company hired crews to put absorbent material on the fluid and swept it, but several areas need to be repaired this year. (Mountlake Terrace)
Truck leak prompts 2 miles of road work in Mountlake Terrace

About 50 gallons of hydraulic fluid spilled from a Waste Management garbage truck last June.

Homicide suspect arrested in separate murder-for-hire sting

New court papers connect Selvin Rosales-Sevilla, of Mountlake Terrace, to the killing of Kevin Nieto Mejia at Ebey Island.

Logo for news use featuring Snohomish County, Washington. 220118
Bird flu comes to Snohomish County, via backyard flock

Where exactly was not immediately released. But flock owners should be vigilant to prevent further spread of the virus.

Most Read