The National Rifle Association has told us endlessly that “Guns don’t kill people; people kill people.” Which causes WC to ask why the NRA and its enthusiasts in the Alaska Legislature are pressing so hard to put firearms in the hands of convicted felons, domestic violence offenders and drug dealers.
Felon firearm possession is governed by two bodies of law: state law and federal law. In Alaska, for the last 15 years, the law has provided a felon may possess a firearm if:
A period of 10 years or more has elapsed between the date of the person’s unconditional discharge on the prior offense or adjudication of juvenile delinquency and the date of the violation of (a)(1) of this section, and the prior conviction or adjudication of juvenile delinquency did not result from a violation of AS 11.41 or of a similar law of the United States or of another state or territory
The practical effect of limiting permanent denial to AS 11.41 – crimes against the person – is that there is no obstacle to pimps, gang members, and domestic violence offenders getting their firearms back in ten years. Or sooner, if the NRA gets its way. Because those crimes don’t arise under AS 11.41. Pimping arises under AS 11.66. Gang membership crimes are under AS 11.61. Even weapons misconduct – use of a firearm in committing some crimes, for example – doesn’t result in permanent loss odd the right to carry firearms. Domestic violence crimes aren’t even under Title 11.
A sensible Legislature would amend Alaska law to address crimes of violence beyond AS 11.41. Why should gun-wielding gang members be entitled to recover their right to carry a firearm when someone who punches someone with a fist can’t? But, of course, this is an NRA issue, so logic doesn’t enter into it. Public safety doesn’t enter in to it. The problem is hardly limited to Alaska; a long New York Times article documents the extent of the problem.
It’s probably too much to hope that sanity will prevail. But WC does.