SPECIAL REPORT: Staying up to date on Alaska state gun laws

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FAIRBANKS, Alaska According to an article published in the online British newspaper, The Independent, US citizens own roughly 40 percent of the world's firearms, more than the next 25 top ranking countries combined.

A poll conducted by the scholarly journal Injury Prevention, claims that Alaskan's, per capita, have the largest gun owning group of any other state with 61 percent owning at least one firearm. The state of Alaska has a reputation of being a state with some of the least restrictive gun laws due to its 'constitutional carry' and 'stand your ground laws.'

Percentage of gun ownership by state

Local gun expert and former gun safety instructor, Joe Nava, gave a summary of Alaska's self-defense laws.

"When can you use deadly force?" asked Nava. "When you have reason to believe, based on the facts, that you are in jeopardy of serious physical injury, death, rape, robbery or kidnapping and the aggressor does have both the ability and the means to do that to you, then you are legal to use deadly force."

However, Nava makes it perfectly clear; people must be able to factually present an argument proving they were in jeopardy because the assailant had both the means and ability to harm them when they used deadly force.

"And remember, deadly force doesn't mean shooting. Pointing the gun in the general direction of another person is using deadly force," said Nava.

Having a solid understanding of the law and using that knowledge will help keep users lawful and out of trouble. Fairbanks District Attorney, Gregg Olson provided some tips on how to remain on the good side of the law while carrying a firearm.

"Don't drink, don't get in arguments or pissing matches with people, don't be a hero, follow the law," Olson said.

Olson also encourages carriers to know where they are not allowed to carry. According to Alaska state law - gun owners may not carry on school property, in a daycare or a senior living home, domestic or sexual assault shelters and courts. Firearms are also not allowed to be carried in an establishment that sells alcohol for on-site consumption unless it is classified as a restaurant or in someone’s home unless they give permission.

Someone carrying must also immediately notify any law enforcement they come in contact with if the gun is on their person.

"Know the law about where you can carry, know the law about when you're justified in using force, and follow the law," said Olson.

With Alaskan's owning the most guns per capita of any state, responsible gun owners, who know and follow the laws, will help themselves stay safe and legal.