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Alaska Senate Passes Bill Allowing Guns on Public University Campus


April 11, 2016
Monday PM

(SitNews) Ketchikan, Alaska - By a vote of 13-5, the Alaska State Senate passed a bill Friday to protect the constitutional right of Alaskans to keep and bear arms on a public university campus.

SB 174, sponsored by Sen. Pete Kelly (R-Fairbanks), resolves a conflict between the University of Alaska Board of Regent's weapons ban and the Alaska Constitution, ensuring that law-abiding residents may carry firearms while pursuing a post-secondary education.

“The increasing number of killings on college campuses and other areas that have been specifically designated gun free zones make it clear we have turned these place into targets for mass murderers,” said Sen. Kelly. “Alaskans have the right to defend themselves.”

Since 1995, the Board of Regents' policy has prohibited the carrying of firearms in buildings owned or controlled by the university, on developed adjacent university land, or at university-sponsored events under threat of disciplinary action.

This policy, however, conflicts with the Constitution of the State of Alaska which guarantees the individual right to keep and bear arms, a right that cannot be infringed upon by the state or a political subdivision of the state.

SB 174 recognizes that the lawful power to regulate firearms and knives is reserved for Alaska’s elected representatives. Under state law, there is currently no prohibition for law-abiding citizens to exercise their individual right to bear arms at University of Alaska campuses.

“We cannot let the arrogance of academia become a substitute for our hard earned freedoms,” said Sen. Kelly. “Our constitutional rights are inherent. The University doesn’t give them to us and neither can they take them away.”

SB 174 now moves to the Alaska State House of Representatives for consideration.

On March 25, 2016 by a vote of 9-2, the Alaska University’s Board of Regents acted to oppose the current form of legislation that would allow concealed handguns and knives on campus. The March 25th resolution regarding SB 174 stated that without amendments, the legislation would prevent the university from responding to common, known, high risk and high conflict situations involving concealed firearms and knives on university property.

The university offered six amendments to SB 174 that would allow for the Board of Regents and the administration to respond in critical and sensitive situations. These amendments included allowing regulation of weapons in the following areas:

  • when a student or employee demonstrates a risk of harm to self or others;
  • in student dormitories and other shared living quarters, where, unlike private residences, some 60 percent of occupants are under 21, communal living rules are enforced by student Resident Advisors and UA serves as the “adult,” residents live in close quarters and share facilities such as bathrooms and lounges, students and transient visitors have greater access to rooms, and alcohol is frequently present;
  • in university facilities housing health and counseling services or other services related to sexual harassment or violence;
  • during adjudication of staff or student disputes or disciplinary issues;
  • within parts of facilities used for dedicated programs for preschool, elementary, junior high and secondary students, when such programs are occurring;
  • with concealed carry permits, since a student or employee carrying concealed in UA common areas, critical infrastructure, classrooms and labs should have some training and knowledge of gun safety and applicable law and be subject to a criminal background check; and,



Edited by Mary Kauffman, SitNews


Source of News:

Alaska Senate Majority

University of Alaska


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