I cant believe it! Well, yes I can. I hope some of you in Alaska are having this challenged.
US Army Alaska Commander pens policy to not allow Soldiers to carry at all off base!
Here is the link http://www.news-miner.com/Stories/0...3271592,00.html
Here is the story:
Army tightens weapons policy
By MARGARET FRIEDENAUER, Staff Writer
A new U.S. Army Alaska policy penned this week forbids soldiers from carrying privately owned concealed weapons in public, despite being stationed in a state with one of the most liberal concealed weapons laws in the country.
The move, officials said, is in response to several incidents involving soldiers and their personal concealed weapons.
"In the last six to eight months, there has been a number of incidents involving soldiers and privately-owned concealed weapons that indicated a need to look at this policy," said Maj. Kirk Gohlke, U.S. Army Alaska public affairs officer.
Gohlke noted the trial of three Fort Wainwright soldiers currently unfolding in court. A jury is deliberating the fate of Lionel Wright, Freddy Walker and Christopher Cox, who are on trial for the August death of Alvin "Snoop" Wilkins. The three soldiers claim self defense in brandishing personal weapons during a confrontation that killed Wilkins.
Gohlke said there have been seven other instances involving U.S. Army Alaska soldiers and personal concealed weapons in Fairbanks and Anchorage although he couldn't comment on specifics.
According to the new policy, "Soldiers who fail to comply are subject to adverse administrative action or punishment under the Uniform Code of Military Justice or both."
U.S. Army Alaska also prohibits anyone--military or civilian--from having or transporting a concealed weapon at any time on a USARAK installation, a policy that has been in place for some time.
But Alaska law is much less restrictive. Gov. Frank Murkowski in 2003 signed into law a bill that allowed citizens to carry a concealed handgun in public without a permit.
Included in the 2003 law is that local governments cannot change the state gun law to be more open or more restrictive, but the U.S. Army Alaska can enforce policies more restrictive than state law.
Local firearms instructor Joe Nava said there are still benefits of getting a concealed firearm permit, although the state doesn't require it.
Those that acquire a permit are eligible to buy a gun from a dealer without a background check, are allowed to carry a concealed weapon in 29 other states and are entered into the police computing system as a permit holder.
But while Nava encourages permitting, he doesn't agree with the Army's policy. He said it's a right given under the U.S. Constitution and state law for soldiers, like any citizen or resident of the state, to have and carry personal weapons.
"The military is taking away (soldiers') ability to protect themselves off base and that's not right," Nava said.
But Gohlke said the policy is specific only to concealed weapons and does not affect weapons for recreation and hunting.
The policy is meant to create a safer environment for soldiers and communities, not to infringe on personal rights.
"Our interest here is simply to protect the health and welfare of soldiers and promote good order and discipline," Gohlke said. "The intent is not to restrict soldiers' rights."
Staff writer Margaret Friedenauer can be reached at 459-7545 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org