How Alaska Concealed Carry Works
Alaska. The Australia of the north. Bears, moose, crime rates in urban centers, drifters, weather -- whatever the threat, this state, which lies in both the eastern and western hemispheres and is as wide as the combined lower 48 states, is subject to “constitutional carry.”
Alaska is also at times the subject of trivia game questions: What is the northernmost, westernmost and easternmost state of the United States? All this considering that the centerpoint is Greenwich, UK.
It’s the land of the midnight sun. There might be some sort of pun to work off of from that.
The land of the midnight sun isn’t always so bright, which makes Alaska concealed carry a matter of concern in a state where approximately 75 remote native villages have no official form of law enforcement, according to a 2014 Washington Post report.
Luckily for Alaskans, it is relatively easy to carry a concealed weapon as a form of self defense, and its reciprocity is well spread throughout the lower 48.
Alaska Concealed Carry Law Simplifies Obtaining A CCW Permit
Although there is no prohibition or necessary license to carry a concealed weapon in the 49th state, 38 states recognize a valid Alaska concealed carry license. Therefore, if Alaskans at any point decide to travel outside their massive home state, which is as wide as the combined lower 48 states, they may face legal barriers for concealed carry without a valid permit.
The Alaskan resident must be eligible according to state and federal laws to possess a firearm and must not have been convicted of two or more Class A Alaska misdemeanors or similar laws elsewhere within the six years before submitting an application.
Applications are not accepted from those enrolled in, or having been committed to within the prior three years, an alcohol or substance abuse treatment program.
Applicants must have committed a handgun competency course in the 12 months prior to submitting their application. The form must additionally be submitted in person with their fingerprints, photograph, current demographic date and other identifying information.
There’s an $89.75 initial permit fee, which is nonrefundable if the permit isn’t approved.
Once awarded, the permit is valid for up to five years and may be renewed within 90 days of expiration for a $25 fee with the concealed handgun permit renewal form, and up to 60 days after expiration for a late renewal fee of $50.
Once 60 days has passed the expiration, normally set on the applicant’s birthday, the process to obtain a new permit must be completed again.
A lost permit is still valid if before its expiration date. To replace it, submit the appropriate form, a photograph and the $25 fee.
If there is new information that must be updated on the form, such as an address, it must be reported in written form within 30 days.
There Are Alaska CCW Regulations Regardless if Licensed or Not
According to Alaska concealed carry laws, there is no prohibition on carrying a concealed weapon, but the gun owner, who is required to be at least 21 years or older, must abide by a specific set of rules.
The CCW must be legal, although it does not have to be registered with the state of Alaska and there is no waiting period.
The concealed carrier must be eligible to legally own or possess a legal firearm under state and federal laws, however Alaska does not expand in any way on federal guidelines for legal gun ownership.
That being said, United States Code Title 18, Part I, Chapter 44, Section 922 dictates it is unlawful for a person to own a firearm if they...
- Have been indicted or convicted of a crime punishable by over a year of imprisonment or a felony, not including those whose civil rights have been returned or those whose convictions have been set aside, expunged, pardoned -- unless the restoration of civil rights explicitly states they may not ship, transport, possess or receive firearms.
- Are a fugitive from justice
- Use or are addicted to a controlled substance
- Is a non-citizen illegally in the US unless under a nonimmigrant visa,
- Have been adjudicated as mentally defective or committed to a mental institution
- Have been dishonorably discharged from Armed Forces
- Have renounced their U.S. citizenship
- Are “subject to a court order that restrains the person from harassing, stalking, or threatening an intimate partner of the person or child of such intimate partner or person, or engaging in other conduct that would place an intimate partner in reasonable fear of bodily injury to the partner or child”
- Have been convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence in any court
Non-violent business crimes are not included in felonies that bar firearms access.
Upon contact with a peace officer while in Alaska, the concealed carrier must alert the officer that they’re carrying a weapon and allow the officer to secure the weapon for the duration of their contact.
The concealed carrier may not carry the firearm if they’re intoxicated or impaired by alcohol or controlled substances, but there is no restriction on bar owners or employees possessing firearms.
Gun owners are forbidden to carry concealed in another’s home without their knowledge and permission, in any bar or alcohol-serving restaurant, in or around a public or private K-12 school, in a school bus without knowledge and permission from academic administration, in a child care facility, in domestic violence centers, in sexual assault centers, in a courthouse, in a courtroom or in a court system office.
The concealed weapon may be unloaded and locked in a car trunk or container when at a school or child care facility
There are a few locations that may be restricted by owners or facilities managers. These include national parks, federal court buildings, space rented by federal offices, airports, airport terminal areas and military bases.
Additionally, Alaska’s concealed weapons restrictions and permissions are not applicable to federally owned properties or locations under federal jurisdiction, which may include “national parks, military bases, federal court buildings, space rented by federal offices, airports or airport terminal areas,” according to Alaska’s Department of Public Safety.
Alaska Crime Rates and Lack of LEO Are Reasons to Carry Concealed for Self Defense
Alaska crime rates make it, believe it or not, one of the most dangerous states in the U.S., based on relative population and space, and therefore carrying a defensive handgun is well justified given reported crime rates.
According to a state report on crime in Alaska in 2014, there is:
- One aggravated assault every 2 hours 43 minutes and 1 second with a total at 3,224, an increase of 128 reported cases from 2013.
- One robbery every 13 hours 58 minutes and 16 seconds with a total at 627
- One rape every 11 hours 27 minutes and 57 seconds with a total of 764 reported cases at a rate of 104.3 per 100,000
- One murder every 9 days 2 hours and 59 minutes with a total of 40
- One burglary every 2 hours 47 minutes and 35 seconds with a total of 3,136
- One larceny - theft every 34 minutes and 14 seconds with a total of 15,350
- One motor vehicle theft every 5 hours 3 minutes and 44 seconds with a total of 1,730
- One arson every 2 days 12 hours and 24 minutes with a total of 145
All of these indicate one property crime every 25 minutes and 48 seconds. All available data indicates one crime index offense occurred every 21 minutes. This data represents coverage of 99.4 percent of the Alaskan population.
There were 636 violent crimes per 100,000 people and 3,416 total offenses per 100,000 people out of a total population of 732,371.
According to a 2014 report from the Washington Post, Alaska Native communities have the highest rates of family violence, suicide and alcohol abuse in the U.S -- additionally rape in Alaska was three times the national average, suicide four times the national rate, domestic violence 10 times the national average and physical assault of women 12 times the national average.
Additionally, the aforementioned lack of law enforcement due to the sheer size of the state is enough justification to carry a concealed handgun for personal defense.
Regardless if licensed or not for whatever self-defense reason the Alaskan resident chooses, it’s highly recommended that they train continuously and maintain a defensive mindset that encompasses situational awareness and gun safety.
About The Author
Jake Smith (@notjakesmith) is a copywriter in his final year of studying public relations and apparel at the University of Idaho.