Army clarifies gun-registration policy

Posted: Sunday, September 01, 2002

FAIRBANKS (AP) -- The U.S. Army is backing away from enforcing a rule that hunters have to register their guns with the military before bringing them onto military land. The Army now says only people who want to bring guns on the main post have to register them.

Earlier this week, Army officials said they would begin enforcing a regulation on the books for nearly a decade requiring hunters to register their guns before bringing them onto military land. But that's off now.

''The policy was never intended to apply to areas outside the main post areas,'' Col. Fred Lehman, garrison commander for the U.S. Army Alaska, said in a statement late Thursday.

Lehman, who is stationed at Fort Richardson in Anchorage, flew to Fairbanks on Thursday to straighten out the confusion.

''We had some folks get ahead of themselves,'' Lehman explained. ''I've corrected that.''

If the prior policy had held, hundreds of hunters who hunt moose and waterfowl on military land on the Tanana Flats south of Fairbanks would have had to make a trip to register their guns with the Army, because a large portion of the flats are located on military land.

Moose hunters on Fort Greely also were being told to register their rifles. Moose and waterfowl seasons open on Sunday.

Lehman said the gun-registration policy is designed for privately owned weapons on the main post or in living quarters. All personnel, military or civilian, must register guns before bringing them on the main post.

Hunters must still obtain a hunting, fishing and trapping permit to hunt on military land. Also, starting this year anyone hunting on military land must have passed a state-approved hunter education course and have proof they did so.

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