Article I, § 19 of the Alaska Constitution provides:
Alaska courts have held that the right conferred by art. I, § 19 is not absolute and may be regulated by the state legislature. In Gibson v. State, the court of appeals rejected an art. I, § 19 challenge to Alaska Statutes § 11.61.210(a)(1), prohibiting persons from possessing a firearm on the person or having a firearm in the interior of a vehicle in which they are present, or when they are physically or mentally impaired by liquor or a controlled substance.1 The court found that art. I, § 19:
The court found that, since a statute criminalizing the possession of firearms while intoxicated “bears a close and substantial relationship to the state’s legitimate interest in protecting the health and safety of its citizens,” the statute was a proper use of the state’s police power.3
On similar grounds, the court of appeals also rejected an art. I, § 19 challenge to Alaska Stat. § 11.61.200(a)(10), which prohibits a convicted felon from residing in a dwelling knowing that there is a concealed firearm in the dwelling.4 The court held that art. I, § 19 was not intended to eliminate government regulation of an individual’s possession and use of firearms when there is a significant risk that a person will use a firearm in a criminal or dangerous fashion.5
In 2010, the Supreme Court of Alaska held once again that the right conferred by art. I, § 19 “is limited and does not invalidate laws that restrict convicted felons’ access to firearms.”6
- 930 P.2d 1300 (Alaska Ct. App. 1997).
- Gibson, 930 P.2d at 1301.
- Id. at 1302.
- Morgan v. State, 943 P.2d 1208 (Alaska Ct. App. 1997).
- Morgan, 943 P.2d at 1212. See also Wilson v. State, 207 P.3d 565, 566–568 (Alaska Ct. App. 2009) (rejecting an art. I, § 19 challenge to Alaska Stat. § 11.61.200(a)(1) which prohibits possession of a firearm by a felon, because art. I, § 19 does not limit the state’s authority to regulate firearms used in a criminal or dangerous fashion); Lapitre v. State, 233 P.3d 1125, 1128 (Alaska Ct. App. 2010) (rejecting a challenge to the felon-in-possession statute).
- Farmer v. State, Dep’t of Law, 235 P.3d 1012, 1016 (Alaska 2010).