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Thread: New to Alaska. Glad to be here. Looking for specific advice on the law.

  1. #1
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    New to Alaska. Glad to be here. Looking for specific advice on the law.

    Hello,
    I have just moved to Delta Junction, Alaska with my family. I have been researching the laws surrounding firearms carry in Alaska, as well as this forum to glean every bit of information I can so that I can avoid any misunderstandings with law enforcement. I believe I have a pretty good understanding of the law. I do, however, have a question about AS 11.61.220:
    (a) A person commits the crime of misconduct involving weapons in the fifth degree if the person
    (1) is 21 years of age or older and knowingly possesses a deadly weapon, other than an ordinary pocket knife or a defensive weapon,
    (A) that is concealed on the person, and, when contacted by a peace officer, the person fails to
    (i) immediately inform the peace officer of that possession; or
    (ii) allow the peace officer to secure the deadly weapon, or fails to secure the weapon at the direction of the peace officer, during the duration of the contact;

    When I contact an officer while carrying a concealed weapon, I must inform. But do I have to relinquish the firearm to the officer if he requests it? Can I refuse to relinquish and simply secure the weapon as it seems to state in paragraph (ii)?
    Also, it would seem that I need not inform or relinquish while carrying openly.
    So far, I love this state. I have no intention of making waves or causing conflict with law enforcement. I just want to know what my rights are. My time in California has taught me that it is up to you to know your rights.
    Thanks in advance for any advice
    -Elijah

  2. #2
    Regular Member
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    I live in Delta Junction...You should not have any problems with the troopers.
    I never consent to allow them to secure my handgun.
    Life is tough, its tougher when your stupid.

    http://www.itsnotthelaw.com

    Feds: U.C.C. 1-308, State: U.C.C. 1-207, Both: U.C.C. 1-103.6

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Butch00 View Post
    I live in Delta Junction...You should not have any problems with the troopers.
    I never consent to allow them to secure my handgun.
    I have heard that same statement before on this forum. I was wondering if that sentiment was based on law or not. what I dont want to happen is to have a semi friendly encounter with a trooper/local LEO turn in to misconduct with a weapon charges and criminal record. I would like to make sure when i stand on my rights, I am standing on firm ground.

    Thanks for your advice.

  4. #4
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    As I understand it, the "Duty to Inform, Police Ability to Secure" was the price of permitless carry a few years ago.

    Under current law (reference Terry v. Ohio), LEOs can seize a weapon without PC if (A) the citizen is armed and (B) the citizen is dangerous. Both conditions must be true. Arguably, Alaska's statute requires only one part of the two-pronged test to be met (the first). The peace officer can take physical possession of the firearm or direct you to secure it, and I'd imagine that they would have broad discretion in such direction.

    If you are openly carrying, there is no duty to inform and arguably the LEO cannot seize the openly carried firearm. It only applies if concealed.

    I would be hesitant to use the "defensive weapon" clause. I believe that if you dig into the definitions and/or case law for this code, you'll find that defensive weapons are described as tasers, batons, etc. It would be hard to argue that a pistol is not a deadly weapon; deadly weapon is defined under code and a handgun would certainly fit the definition!

    My strategy would be as follows:
    1) If you carry concealed, simply avoid contact with LEOs. There is no reason to bother them or for them to bother you.
    2) You can carry openly in which case they don't have the right to seize your weapon unless they have reason to believe that you're dangerous (meeting the Terry test).

    If you do have a contact, then the second set of words out of your mouth after "Hello" should be to notify them. You should have a smart gameplan; blurting, "I've got a gun!" is not a good idea. You want to be calm and non-threatening. My plan if I am ever stopped in a car while CCW is to hand off my permit with my license and say, "Officer, I'm carrying today, what would you like me to do?" On the street I'd say, "Officer, in accodance with Alaska law I'm notifying you that I'm carrying a sidearm today. What would you like me to do?" I avoid certain words (gun, heat, firearm, weapon, etc) to keep the situation low key. A bit of rehearsal and forethought can do a lot to keep a situation calm.

    The next part of my gameplan would be to immediately see if I can leave ("Am I free to go?") or if I've been detained. If I can leave -- I'm out of there. Finally, if they do want to secure the weapon, I'm not going to touch anything. I will say, "I don't consent to any searches of my person or property, but if you need to secure my weapon it is located XXX." I'd then keep my hands visible, stand still, and passively let them disarm me. I am not going to reach for a gun in front of a cop. That is going to make them nervous, and I don't want a cop to be nervous. If they insist that I touch the weapon myself, I'm going to keep calm and politely explain that my CCW instructor advised me that it would be safer for everyone for me to not draw a weapon in front of a police officer.

    Really, it shouldn't be a huge issue. I've found Alaska LEOs to be very good for the most part. There was an episode of AK State Troopers that emphasized the mindset I've perceived... a trooper said something like, "People have guns up here. Its legal. It makes you talk to people, educate them, and persuade with words rather than going right to force." Even open carrying in Anchorage and Eagle River I never had issues. It isn't really "hostile territory" like CA or many big cities Outside. Some of the cops use the same shooting ranges and shoot IDPA and such with us "regular citizens.

    Welcome and good luck!

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