Knowles assents to concealed-carry bill

Posted: Sunday, May 05, 2002

JUNEAU (AP) -- A bill letting people with permits to carry concealed weapons in other states carry their guns in Alaska will become law.

Gov. Tony Knowles announced Friday he would let the bill become law without his signature.

Supporters, such as Rep. Jeannette James, R-North Pole, had said the change in Alaska's law could prompt more states to recognize Alaskans' concealed-carry permits. Some Alaskans have complained that they don't feel secure while traveling if they can't carry their guns, James said.

Opponents, including House Speaker Brian Porter, said the bill would let people from states with less stringent rules carry their weapons in Alaska.

Knowles said he concluded the bill would have little impact either way.

''Generally, Alaska's current concealed handgun permit law has worked well,'' Knowles said in a letter to Senate President Rick Halford. ''Further revisions to it, such as these, may have little or no practical effect.''

To be eligible for a concealed-carry permit in Alaska, a person must be 21 years old, have no more than two class A misdemeanors within six years and no felonies, submit to a background check with fingerprints and complete a firearms safety course. About 15,000 Alaskans have permits.

Deputy Public Safety Commissioner Del Smith said of 39 states that have concealed handgun programs, 17 have less restrictive standards than Alaska.

The measure was sponsored by Sen. Robin Taylor, R-Wrangell.

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-- The bill is Senate Bill 242.



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