Gun Laws in Alaska
The laws on purchasing and carrying firearms vary heavily from state to state. Analysis of Alaska’s firearms laws starts with their State Constitutional Firearms Provision: “A well-regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. The individual right to keep and bear arms shall not be denied or infringed by the state or political subdivision of the State.”
While Alaska is the largest state in the United States, its remote location and harsher climate keeps population lower than most large cities, with a little over 740,000 in total population. It has no shared boundaries with any other U.S. state, but all foreign boundaries.
Purchase of a Firearm in Alaska
Though Alaska does not require a state permit to purchase a firearm, it is unlawful to sell a firearm to anyone who has been convicted of a felony, or been adjudicated a delinquent minor for a crime that would have been tried as a felony if the child committed it as an adult. However, if 10 or more years have passed since the discharge of the prior offense, the person may be able to purchase a firearm.
Possession of a Firearm in Alaska
Similar to their firearm purchase law, Alaska’s firearm possession law does not require a permit. Any person convicted of a felony or adjudicated a delinquent minor for a crime that would be considered a felony if committed by an adult may not possess a firearm unless 10 or more years have passed since the discharge of the offense.
It is also unlawful to possess a firearm on school property, on a school bus, or at any school sponsored event unless given permission by the chief administrative officer of the school or school district. Furthermore, it is unlawful to possess a firearm in a courthouse, day care center, or domestic violence/sexual assault shelter.
People may not possess a firearm if they have violated a domestic violence protective order. Nor is it legal for anyone intoxicated on alcohol or illicit drugs to possess a firearm. Loaded firearms may not be possessed by any person in any bar or other place where intoxicating liquor is sold for consumption on the premises.
Carrying a Concealed Firearm in Alaska
While there are no permits issued for carrying a concealed rifle or shotgun, any person 21 years or older may obtain a permit to carry a concealed handgun. Any person lawfully carrying a concealed handgun must inform a police officer that he is carrying such a weapon if approached by an officer in any context. He or she must also allow the officer to take the handgun for the duration of the contact.
In order to obtain a permit to carry a concealed handgun in Alaska, the applicant must (1) be at least 21 years of age, (2) be eligible to possess a firearm under state and federal law, (3) be a resident of Alaska for at least 90 days preceding the application, (4) have not been convicted of two or more Class A misdemeanors within the preceding six years, (5) not currently or within three years been ordered by a court to complete an alcohol or substance abuse program, and (6) demonstrate competence with handguns.
Carrying Firearms in Vehicles
Alaska permits anyone who may legally possess a firearm to possess a firearm while operating a motor vehicle, or to store a firearm in a locked motor vehicle when it is parked.
An employer or its agent may, however, prohibit firearm possession within a secured restricted area, in a vehicle owned, leased, or rented by the employer or its agent, or in a parking lot owned or controlled by the employer within 300 feet of the secured restricted area.
Carry in Restaurants That Serve Alcohol
No. In Alaska, a person commits the crime of misconduct involving weapons in the fifth degree if the person knowingly possesses a loaded firearm in any place where intoxicating liquor is sold for consumption on the premises. Note: it may be an affirmative defense if the firearm is a concealed handgun, the possession occurred at a place designated as a restaurant, and You did not consume any alcohol. The general rule is that You are prohibited from carrying while consuming alcohol or while under the influence of alcohol.
Open carry is legal in Alaska. Individuals who are legally allowed to possess a firearm may open carry without a permit/license. Places as listed in the “Criminal Provisions” above apply to those who open carry. The minimum age for open carry is 21.
Alaska has both Castle Doctrine and SYG laws. There is no duty to retreat when attacked in any place You have a legal right to be, and You may use deadly force in self-defense if You reasonably believe it is necessary to prevent death or SBI, to prevent kidnapping, robbery, burglary, or forcible rape, or to stop the unlawful & forcible entry into Your dwelling, residence, or occupied motor vehicle.
By statute in Alaska, anyone 21 or older may legally carry a firearm, and also carry it concealed, without having to have a state-issued permit. However, Alaskans must obtain a concealed carry permit for purposes of reciprocal carry.
Alaskan statutes direct that a person holding a valid permit to carry a concealed handgun from another state, or political subdivision of another state, is treated just as an Alaskan permittee (except for licenses from Idaho, which Alaska requires they be Enhanced). However, the legislature requires the Department of Public Safety to enter into reciprocity agreements with other states so that Alaskans are afforded the same rights to carry a handgun in other, reciprocal states.
Not all states have reciprocity with Alaska. Therefore, it is critical to verify the current status of reciprocity between the states in advance of this carry. Alaska’s most current reciprocity information may be referenced online.
There is no prohibition against carrying a handgun concealed or open, even without a license, so long as the prohibited behaviors regarding the carry are respected:
- The person is 21 years or older
- The person is eligible to own or possess a handgun under state and federal laws
- The firearm is legal
Note: Alaska’s laws do not apply to federal property, offices, installations, or places under federal jurisdiction. Such places can include national parks, military bases, federal court buildings, space rented by federal offices, airports, or airport terminal areas. Please consult with the appropriate federal agency before deciding if weapon carry or concealed carry is permitted.
The owners or management of facilities, including such places as hospitals, universities, gymnasiums, or private property, may restrict or deny concealed carry on their premises. Failure to comply while on their property could violate trespass statutes.
A prudent person contemplating possessing a firearm in a state other than where they live should understand the other state’s basic criminal laws.
The top criminal acts relative to the state’s penal orientation relating to firearms are set forth. It is critical, however, to remember every rule has exceptions that may or may not apply. And they may be contained in statutes, rules, regulations or cases. These too should be considered, as necessary, remembering always federal firearms law also applies in all states. In states that do not have complete state preemption, local laws must be followed. In states with Native American lands, additional tribal laws and restrictions on firearms apply.
Under Alaska law, a license to carry a handgun does not permit carry in any of the following places or circumstances:
- Anywhere prohibited by federal law
- Aboard a commercial or charter aircraft
- An area of an airport to which access is controlled by the inspection of persons and property
- A courthouse
- A domestic violence or sexual assault shelter
- A child care center (except for a private residence being used as such)
- In or on school property, property being used by a school for a school function, or a school bus (except for possession inside a motor vehicle being used to transport another to or from a school or school function). Note that You may have a firearm in the parking lot of a school as long as You are at least 21, not a student, and the firearm is unloaded and locked in Your vehicle
- In the private residence of another, unless You have their permission
- It is illegal to carry a firearm or have possession of it in Your occupied motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs