The Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly will consider whether to establish the borough as a Second Amendment sanctuary.
An ordinance to that effect was written by Borough Mayor Charlie Pierce. The June 16 Assembly meeting will include a discussion on whether to introduce the ordinance for future debate and public comment. The measure begins by quoting the U.S. and State Constitutions, both of which affirm: “A well-regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”
Alaska’s Constitution adds, “The individual’s right to keep and bear arms shall not be denied or infringed by the State or a political subdivision of the State.”
“Nationally we see everyday attempts to infringe on this constitutional right, Pierce said. “Through these infringements, there have been a number of communities throughout the United States that have followed suit. They have drafted ordinances to provide another level of protection.”
The proposed ordinance references an Alaska bill passed in 2013, which prohibits state and local governments from implementing federal laws or regulations that infringe on a person’s right to bear arms. Pierce said his measure provides another level of protection for residents of the Kenai Borough should the state ever adopt a law that violates the Second Amendment.
“It would tell the state authorities that before you go into my home, which is in the borough – before you come into my home and try to practice that law – I have another level of protection to say that law does not apply.”
The ordinance is co-sponsored by Assembly Members Jesse Bjorkman, Norm Blakeley and Kenn Carpenter
“The right to bear arms and defend yourself is not given by government or any laws – it’s a Natural Law right,” Bjorkman said. “We all have a right to defend ourselves, whether you believe that right comes from God or through reason and logic.”
Bjorkman added that the Second Amendment “doesn’t grant us the right to keep and bear arms. It says that the right shall not be infringed. So, that means the law is already there.”
While the ordinance is uncodified, it highlights an important freedom that should be regularly discussed, Bjorkman said.
“It is absolutely important that we keep having those conversations so that people don’t forget,” he said. “The Second Amendment was not about hunting or the shooting sports. It was about defending yourself from tyrannical government. This is definitely an affirmation of the beliefs of a vast majority of the people on the Kenai Peninsula.”
The ordinance does not address any immediate concerns about the right to bear arms, but Pierce noted that Anchorage Democrat Geran Tarr recently proposed a controversial bill that would have allowed the state to confiscate firearms from a person without following due process. The bill failed to gain any legislative traction and died in committee this year. It originally sought to allow family members to request the removal of a relative’s guns, and was opposed by NRA because it did not respect due process.
“It is an example of what I’m talking about,” Pierce said. “An attempt to create a state law that would infringe on my right to bear arms in my safe home.”
In light of recent civil unrest around the nation, Pierce said he believes it is “all the more the reasons to have a gun and to have my family members trained in the safe use of a gun.”
“As a parent and husband or a father of a family,” he said, “I think I have an inherent responsibility to make sure my family is safe and protected should something unfortunate take place on the fringes of my home.”
Due to COVID-19 the Assembly meeting will be held online through Zoom, beginning at 6 p.m. today. The meeting ID is 128 871 931. To join the meeting from a computer, click here. To attend the Zoom meeting by telephone call toll free 1-888- 788-0099 or 1-877-853-5247 and enter the Meeting ID: 128 871 931.