Dear Mr. Ross,
Thank you for contacting me regarding your support for the Second Amendment and the issue of open carry rights across the United States. I appreciate you taking the time to share your concerns with me.
As you probably are well aware, the Constitution guarantees that "the individual right to keep and bear arms shall not be denied or infringed by the State or a political subdivision of the State." Since the Second Amendment's inception into American law, the precise meaning of what constitutes "bearing" arms has been heavily debated. One such illustration of this debate, the right to openly carry or conceal a firearm, varies from state to state.
In our home state of Alaska, I am generally satisfied with Alaskans' right to open carry firearms. Alaska is one of twelve states that currently allow open carry statewide. In the aforementioned open carry states, state laws completely preempt local laws which may infringe on an individual's right to open carry. However, within Alaska's state laws regarding firearms, certain areas are off limits to firearms period. Some of these areas include the following: any courtroom, child care facility, K-12 school grounds, restaurants while consuming alcohol, or private residences without owner's permission. While I do not believe the right to bear arms should be infringed upon in all of the aforementioned areas, I find Alaska's overall track record with open and concealed carry laws to be satisfactory.
Unfortunately, the right to open carry does not exist in every state. Currently, seven states do not allow open carry at all. These states, instead, only issue concealed weapons permits. While I adamantly support the right of all Americans to own and use firearms responsibly, I do not support a nationwide set of gun control laws. Having a federal set of gun laws would leave responsible gun owners nationwide vulnerable to harmful restrictions future federal officials might wish to pass. Our current state-specific system of open carry laws, while not perfect, provides responsible gun owners like you the ability to open carry without federal interference.
Currently, no legislation has been introduced involving the right to openly carry firearms nationwide. However, should such legislation come to the House floor for a vote, I will be certain to keep your thoughts in mind.
Once again, thank you for expressing your views on this issue. If you haven't already, I would encourage you to sign up for my e-newsletter at http://donyoung.house.gov/IMA/issue_subscribe.htm
and my YouTube channel at http://www.youtube.com/profile?user=RepDonYoung
. Doing so will allow me to provide you with updates on this and other important issues. If I can be of any assistance in the future, please do not hesitate to contact me.
Congressman for All Alaska