Guns, Knives, and Other Weapons

Guns, Knives, and Other Weapons

A hatchet and a knife

Alaska law forbids anyone under 16 from possessing a firearm of any kind without permission from a parent or guardian. “Possess” means you have control of the gun.  You can be in control of a gun even if you do not have it with you at the moment.   For example, you can be in possession of a gun hidden under your mattress at home.

If you are over 16 years old, you may generally possess a firearm, but there are some limits.  You may not possess any guns on school property.  This rule means, for example, that you may not have a hunting rifle in your vehicle in the school’s parking lot!  You may not have a gun at a day care center, at a courthouse, where liquor is sold, or in a bar.  You may not have a gun in your possession if you are drunk or high.  If you are on parole after being convicted of a felony, or are adjudicated delinquent for some serious offenses, you may not carry any firearm.  Probation terms often limit possession of firearms, especially guns that can be concealed (like handguns or very short-barreled shotguns or rifles).

If you are carrying a gun and come in contact with any law enforcement officer, you must immediately tell the officer that you are in possession of a firearm.

If you are in a federal park or wildlife refuge in Alaska, you may carry a gun, but you cannot fire the gun, show off any weapon (including a gun) in the view of others, or use a gun in any other way.  Park rules also prohibit you carrying a gun into a ranger station or park administrative office.

Not from a dealer. Under federal law, you must be 18 years old to purchase a shotgun or rifle, and you must be 21 years old to purchase a handgun from a federally licensed firearms dealer (like a gun shop, pawn shop, or Fred Meyer store).  These age restrictions also apply to buying ammunition.  Federal law also prohibits unlicensed sellers from selling handguns or handgun ammunition to anyone under 18.

In Alaska, you do not need a special state permit to buy a gun if you meet the age requirements described above.  But you may be prohibited from purchasing any firearms if you have been convicted of a felony, or adjudicated a delinquent minor.

No, but you must be at least 21 years old to carry a concealed weapon.  Alaska law does not require a permit to carry a concealed weapon, but the State of Alaska does issue concealed carry permits to persons over 21. These permits are useful if you want to take a handgun to another state that requires a permit to carry a concealed weapon.

If you are under 21, Alaska law forbids you from knowingly possessing a deadly weapon when the weapon is concealed on your person and you are away from your own dwelling or land.  The rule does not apply to an ordinary pocketknife or a “defensive weapon” like mace spray.  There is also an exception if you are engaged in a lawful outdoor activity, like hunting, fishing, or trapping, that necessarily requires use of a deadly weapon for personal protection.

There are no specific state laws on possessing knives.  If you are under 21, you may not carry a “deadly weapon” if it is concealed on your person, or in certain places like schools.  A knife may be considered a “deadly weapon.”  Many schools forbid all knives from school grounds, including school buses.

Switchblades, gravity knives, and metal knuckles are all illegal in Alaska.