Alaskan Capitol Building

“The carrying of a concealed handgun is prohibited on the property of the university, in a university office or classroom in a building not on university property or at a university sponsored activity or meeting not on university property provided appropriate notice is posted in the manner provided by law.” That’s the University of Alaska’s (UA) current policy on campus carry. The problem: the current regulation flies in the face of Alaska statute AS 29.35.145, which reserves all power to regulate firearms to the state. The state senate now wants to officially empower UA to regulate firearms on its campus . . .

 Here’s the opening paragraph of SB 174:

FINDINGS AND INTENT. The legislature finds that the individual right to keep and bear arms is a constitutionally protected right under art. I, sec. 19, Constitution of the State of Alaska, and may not be abridged by the Board of Regents of the University of Alaska. The legislature reserves to the state the authority to regulate firearms, except as specifically provided in AS 14.40.173.

While it seems that legislators are slapping down UA’s weapons policy, appearances can be deceiving. In fact, UA’s Board of Regents are reported to be satisfied with Senate Bill 174. From newsminer.com:

The bill was initially released to opposition from UA, which listed six concerns it had on the bill. Its main concern revolved around the university’s ability to intervene in high-risk situations.

The new version of the bill incorporates four of those recommendations, allowing the Board of Regents to adopt regulations on guns and knives in situations where a student or employee “poses a risk of harm to self or others” or during a disciplinary process.

It also would allow the regents to bar weapons in student housing or in facilities related to health services, counseling or other services related to sexual harassment or violence.

That’s a lot of power that the board if regents did not have previously.

Not in the News Miner report: SB 174 gives the board of regents complete authority to ban all open carry on campus. This guts over half of the exercise of Second Amendment rights on all of Alaska University campuses. It’s an enormous power grant that no city in Alaska has. Why the senate would do this is unclear.

From SB174 (pdf):

(c) The Board of Regents may adopt and enforce policies

(1) regulating the possession, ownership, use, carrying, registration,
storage, and transportation of openly carried firearms and knives;

If the bill becomes law, no student will be able to carry a belt knife on campus. No student will be able to carry a shotgun from his car to his room after hunting without concealing it. SB 174 goes still further. It grants complete immunity from liability for any of the board of regents policies concerning exercise of the Second Amendment.

(f) The University of Alaska, the Board of Regents, and any officers,
employees, or agents of the University of Alaska are immune from civil liability for any act or omission resulting from a policy or regulation adopted or enforced under this section by the Board of Regents or the president of the University of Alaska, or a claim arising from the possession, ownership, use, carrying, registration, or transportation of firearms or knives by any person.

This is in direct contravention of the Supreme Court’s Heller decision, which held that possession of a working handgun in one’s home was a fundamental Constitutional right. It remains to be seen if the bill emerges from committee and makes it to the governor’s desk.

©2016 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.

Gun Watch

8 Responses to Alaska Senate Committee: Legalize University of Alaska’s Weapons Policy

    • Yeah, AK is constitutional carry. And most cops I delt with while I was at UAF were pretty pro gun and easy going. One told me that should I accidentally conceal carry into class, the charge would be trespassing if I didn’t leave when found out, if found out at all, with no charge if I did a “my bad, I will now take this prohibited item off campus.”
      Not so sure they’re that cool now. Not too many anti-gun rights folks up here, and a lot of fence sitters. Most of the rabidly anti-gun folks work for the three UA campuses, or live in the big liberal city, Anchorage

  1. I’m guessing several Senators or their friends/relatives, serve on the board of regents? Can’t see any other reason to destroy a constitutional right.

  2. Alaskans should rise as one and tell the legislature that it will be a cold day before they approve of this bill.

    Oh, wait . . .

  3. When I was a student at University of Alaska Anchorage in the early to mid 90’s, we were not allowed to keep guns in campus housing, and every time we wanted access to our guns, we had to call the campus police to come unlock the ‘gun room’ and check our guns in and out. This was annoying and an inconvenience to say the least, both for us and the cops. I took one of my various .44 magnums with me on every hike and went to the range quite a bit. The cops at that time admitted they thought the rule was silly and they told me they didn’t really care if I brought it back to my room to clean it or whatever, as long as it was back in lockup overnight so the housing admins wouldn’t hassle them about a checkout-out gun that didn’t make it back when the student said it would be. Some of the cops taught me a few things about guns. I remember after cleaning my stainless Anaconda and giving it to the cop to put back in lockup, he jokingly asked me why I was putting it back ‘dirty’, referring to the burn rings on the front of the cylinder. I told them I had tried Hoppes solvent and couldn’t get them off and he introduced me to those yellow rust & lead remover cloths which took the rings right off with a little rubbing. He also told me the hollow points I originally bought were really not the best choice for bear protection, and recommended a hard cast lead flat nose round which I later switched to. At that time, the campus cops were not the problem as I remember. It was the campus administration.

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