A local militia leader is organizing an anti-gun-control rally that’ll be held next month in downtown Fairbanks, one of five to be held around the state to show support for the Second Amendment and other political causes.
There’s not a lot of controversy over gun control here in Alaska. Most Alaskans own guns, and most politicians here know the importance of holding a lifetime NRA membership.
But gun control remains a hot topic in the Lower 48. In response to gun-related crime and mass shootings, legislatures in several states have passed or are considering several gun-control laws.
David Luntz and other gun-rights advocates around Alaska believe it’s important to reiterate their anti-gun-control message because there’s “a lot of legislative movement to limit our Second Amendment rights. And that’s really the purpose of the rally,” he said.
Luntz says the 2014 Day of Resistance rallies will be held Feb. 23rd at Veterans Park and in Anchorage, Juneau, Wasilla and the Kenai. They’re modeled after the events held on the same date last year nationwide to protest gun-control proposals in Congress and executive actions by President Obama. Lawmakers failed to pass those measures requiring more background checks and imposing limits on gun sales. But the executive orders still stand.
Alaskan lawmakers responded to the issue early last year by passing a bill that nullified federal gun-control laws and orders. Gov. Sean Parnell signed the law in June, over objections by legal experts that it’s unconstitutional.
Luntz says he expects speakers at the Fairbanks rally will talk about “nullification” and other issues involving so-called federal overreach and states’ rights.
“A lot of different other speakers may be talking about other things – nullification; jury rights; or just basically on trying to maintain our freedom and liberty,” he said.
Luntz says he’s also invited politicians and activists to speak at the rally.
Luntz holds the rank of interim commander of the Central Alaska Militia, one of several such organizations in Alaska. He says the rallies are not militia events, but given the issues that’ll be talked about, he wouldn’t be surprised if some members show up.
“Y’know,” he said, “it is about the Second Amendment, so I would imagine that there would be a number of groups, not only possibly the militia but also the Second Amendment Task Force or some other groups out there throughout the state that will participate in their local rallies.”
That’s OK, says Mike Bork, the Fairbanks North Star Borough Parks and Recreation director – as long as nobody violates the law by discharging their weapon or trying to sell one.
“As long as they’re obeying the law and following the proper procedures to rent the space, we welcome them. As we would with any group,” Bork said.
Luntz says he and other organizers intend to keep the rally peaceful, to counter the negative image of the movement created by among other things former militia leader Schaeffer Cox, who’s now serving a 26-year federal prison sentence for plotting to kill judges and law-enforcement officers.
Luntz says he wants the rally to serve as an example of an orderly, peaceful exercise of First Amendment rights in defense of the Second Amendment.