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Legislature Moves to Ban Open Carry on Campus


Jul 11, 2008
Yuma, Arizona, USA
Campus carry is moving in Alaska. Many would argue that the campus regulations that forbid campus carry are already illegal. The State Constitution and the Alaskan preemption law are clear. Here is the opening paragraph of AS 29.35.145:

(a) The authority to regulate firearms and knives is reserved to the state, and, except as specifically provided by statute, a municipality may not enact or enforce an ordinance regulating the possession, ownership, sale, transfer, use, carrying, transportation, licensing, taxation, or registration of firearms or knives.

The Statute appears to have been in force since 2006. The current rule by the Board of Regents bans concealed carry. From alaska.edu:

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. This section shall not apply to a concealed handgun carried by a duly commissioned law enforcement officer in relation to the officer's law enforcement function or by a person expressly authorized by the president or appropriate chancellor in extraordinary circumstances.

It does not appear that the State has granted any authority to the university system in Alaska to ban the carry of firearms or knives. The universities have been doing it, and no one has challenged them in court. Yet. They might have a little wiggle room by claiming that they "own" the buildings and can restrict access. I doubt that it would stand up. My guess is that most people who are concealed carrying simply ignore the campus rules. It would be a win/win for them. If the campus tries to enforce the rules, they get a lawsuit. If they don't, they don't. I have not seen any lawsuits about open carry, either.

I can understand why the campus carry law being proposed is so well received by the board of regents. It gives them a tremendous power that they do not currently have. The bill says that they are covered under the preemption law. That never seemed in doubt, but some universities in other states have tried that sort of challenge and have lost. Utah, Colorado, and Idaho are examples.

Here is 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.

It has been reported that the Board of Regents is quite happy 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 is a lot of power that the Board if Regents did not have previously. If I were them, I would be smiling a lot. The Senate committee should read Donald Trump’s "The Art of the Deal".

Not reported in the News Miner, is that 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 is an enormous grant of power 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;

Just consider that. 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. The potential for abuse is very large.

SB 174 then goes further. It grants complete immunity from liability for any of the Board of Regents policies concerning exercise of the Second Amendment. From SB174(pdf).

(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.

What an incredible grant of power to unelected officials! First, authority to ban open carry completely, and concealed carry in quite a few places, including places where students live. That is in direct contradiction to the Supreme Court ruling in Heller, which held that possession of a working handgun in one's home was a fundamental Constitutional right. Then give the officials who have the power to adopt such policies complete immunity from civil suit for any thing that follows from them.

If I were an unprincipled University official, I would be begging the Senate to pass the law, as quickly as possible. The Senate committee did not negotiate. They are giving away the store!

I have seen this before. It is not unusual for elected officials to "negotiate" with bureaucrats, to give away things that they take from someone else. It is not "their money" or "their rights".

It appears that the Alaskan Senate committee is willing to take rights from ordinary Alaskans, and give the power to the Board of Regents.

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OC for ME

Regular Member
Jan 6, 2010
White Oak Plantation
Sucks, especially given the fact that wild life is very near to any given campi and as such a very real danger to students/faculty/staff. Unless of course a couple of cops are continuously patrolling the campi to be sure a critter don't get all uppity with adolescent apex predators.


Regular Member
Oct 11, 2008
Sucks, especially given the fact that wild life is very near to any given campi and as such a very real danger to students/faculty/staff. Unless of course a couple of cops are continuously patrolling the campi to be sure a critter don't get all uppity with adolescent apex predators.

and by continuously patrolling you mean a cop for every 100 square feet. right?