WomensLaw no es solamente para mujeres. Servimos y apoyamos a todos/as los/as sobrevivientes no importa su sexo o género.

Importante: Aun si las cortes están cerradas puede haber una forma para pedir una orden de protección y recursos de emergencia. Vea las Cortes y el COVID-19.

Información Legal: Alaska

Alaska: State Gun Laws

State Gun Laws

This section has information about state gun laws in Alaska. However, in addition to these state-specific laws, there are also federal gun laws that could apply. To fully understand all of the legal protections available, it is important that you also read the Federal Gun Laws pages.

Please consider getting in touch with a domestic violence advocate in your community for more information on gun laws in your area. Go to the AK Places that Help page to find domestic violence organizations and legal help in your area.

Basic Info and Definitions

What is the difference between federal and state gun laws?

In these gun laws pages, we refer to both “federal gun laws” and “state gun laws.”  The major difference between the two has to do with who makes the law, who prosecutes someone who violates the law, and what the penalty is for breaking the law.

One reason why it is important for you to know that there are these two sets of gun laws is so that you can understand all of the possible ways that the abuser might be breaking the law, and you can better protect yourself.  Throughout this section, we will be referring mostly to state laws.  Be sure to also read our Federal Gun Laws pages to see if any federal laws apply to your situation as well.  You will need to read both state and federal laws to see which ones, if any, the abuser might be violating.

If you are calling the police because you believe the abuser has violated a gun law, you do not necessarily need to be able to tell the police which law was violated (state versus federal) but local police cannot arrest someone for violating federal law, only for violating state/local laws.  Only federal law enforcement, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (“ATF”), can arrest someone for violating federal laws.  If the local police believe that a state law is being violated, they could arrest the abuser and hand the case over to the state prosecutor. If the local police believe a federal law is being violated, hopefully, the police department will notify the ATF or perhaps the U.S. Attorney’s office in your state (which is the federal prosecutor).  For information on how you can contact ATF directly to report the violation of federal gun laws, go to Who do I notify if I think the abuser should not have a gun? If the abuser is breaking both state and federal laws, s/he might be prosecuted in both state and federal court.

What is the definition of a felony?

Throughout these gun law pages, we will refer to gun laws that make it illegal for someone convicted of a felony to have a gun. A felony is a more serious crime than a misdemeanor. In Alaska, a felony is a crime that is punishable by imprisonment for more than one year.1

However, you cannot always tell if someone was convicted of a felony only by looking at the amount of time s/he actually served in prison since sentences are often reduced or pled down. If you are unsure if the abuser was convicted of a felony, you might want to talk to the prosecutor who handled the criminal case against the abuser to find out or go to the courthouse and search the conviction records.

1 Alaska Statute § 11.81.900(25)

I am a victim of domestic violence and the abuser has a gun. Is that legal?

    In terms of domestic violence, in particular, if a person used a firearm (or had it in his/her possession) while committing domestic violence, any of the following could apply:

    • as part of a final protective order (in civil court), the judge can prohibit the abuser from using firearms and order the abuser to surrender his/her firearms;
    • as part of a law enforcement officer’s investigation of a crime involving domestic violence, the officer can temporarily take (seize) any firearms owned or in the possession of the abuser in case they are needed for evidence; or
    • as part of the sentencing for being convicted of a crime involving domestic violence, the judge must order the weapon used to be taken away (forfeited).1

    It is also illegal for someone to have a firearm that is small enough to be carried as a concealed weapon if s/he was convicted of a felony or was found “delinquent” as a minor for an act that would be a felony if committed by an adult.However, it is no longer illegal if ten years have passed since the person completed any jail sentence, parole, and probation. This applies to all felonies and for most juvenile convictions 2

    In addition, under Alaska law, a person cannot get a permit to carry a concealed handgun if s/he:

    • is under age 21;
    • has been convicted of two or more class A misdemeanors (in any state) within the past six years;
    • is currently, or has been within the past three years, ordered by a court to complete an alcohol or substance abuse treatment program.3 (It is also a crime to have a firearm in your possession while your physical or mental condition is impaired due to alcohol or drugs.)4

    If any of these situations apply to the abuser, it may be illegal for him/her to have a gun. Also, federal laws, which apply to all states, may restrict an abuser’s right to have a gun. Go to Federal Gun Laws to get more information.

    1 Alaska Statute §§ 12.55.015(f); 18.66.100(c)(6), (c)(7); 18.65.515(b)
    2 Alaska Statute §§ 11.61.200(a)(1), (b)(1)(c); 12.55.185(18)
    3 Alaska Statute § 18.65.705(1), (4), (5)
    4 Alaska Statute §§ 11.61.210(a)(1); 11.61.200(a)(7)

    Guns and Protective Orders

    I have a temporary protective order against the abuser. Can his/her gun be taken away?

    Alaska state law does not allow a judge to order the removal of the guns as part of an emergency protective order or a temporary ex parte order. Removal of guns can only be ordered as part of a final protective order.1

    In addition, under federal law, if the judge gave you an ex parte temporary protective order (which means that no advance notice was given to the abuser), which is commonly done, it could still be LEGAL for him/her to have a gun under federal law. However, if the judge scheduled a court hearing and gave notice of the hearing to the abuser before giving you the temporary protective order, it is possible that it is ILLEGAL for him/her to have a gun under federal law.2

    While waiting for the court to issue you a permanent order, you can take steps to keep yourself safe. Please see our Safety Tips page for information on keeping safe, especially in rural areas.

    1 Alaska Statute §§ 18.66.110(a); 18.66.100(c)(6), (c)(7)
    2 18 USC § 922(g)(8)

    I have a final protective order against the abuser. Can s/he keep a gun or buy a new gun?

    Under Alaska state law, the judge can prohibit the abuser from using firearms and order the abuser to surrender his/her firearms as part of a final protective order.1

    In addition, ​federal laws, which apply to all states, restrict a person’s right to have a gun under certain circumstances, including when there is an order of protection that was issued after notice to the abuser and a hearing. Go to Federal Gun Laws to get more information.​

    1 Alaska Statute § 18.66.100(c)(6), (c)(7)

    Is there anything I can do to make it more likely that the abuser's gun is taken away when I get a protective order?

    Depending on the judge in your case, there may be some things you can do to increase the chances that the judge will require that an abuser’s guns are taken away. Keep in mind these tips may or may not result in the outcome that you are hoping for. Every judge is different. However, here are a few suggestions that may help:

    • If the abuser has a gun, tell the judge how many guns s/he has, and if s/he has ever shown you the guns or displayed them as a way to intimidate you and maintain control over you.
    • Ask the judge to specifically write in your order for protection that the abuser cannot own, buy or have a gun while the order is in effect. The form that you will have to fill out to petition for an order for protection will have a place where you can request additional protections. You can ask that the abuser’s gun(s) be taken away in that section.
    • It also may be helpful if the judge explains what will happen to the abuser’s guns, who will take them, and where they will be held once you leave the courthouse. If the judge agrees to add language that the abuser cannot keep his/her guns while the order for protection is in effect, you may also want to ask that the judge:
      • require the abuser to give his/her guns to the police, or require the police to go to the abuser’s house and get them;
      • make it clear to both you and the abuser how long the guns will be kept away from the abuser; and
      • order that the police notify you when the guns are returned to the abuser.
    • If the gun restriction is granted, check to make sure that it is written on your order before leaving the courthouse.

    Guns and Criminal Convictions

    If the abuser has been convicted of a crime, can s/he keep or buy a gun?

    It is illegal for someone to have a firearm that is small enough to be carried as a concealed weapon if s/he was convicted of a felony or was found “delinquent” as a minor for an act that would be a felony if committed by an adult.However, it is no longer illegal if ten years have passed since the person completed any jail sentence, parole, and probation. This applies to all felonies and for most juvenile convictions.1

    In addition, in regards to domestic violence crimes, in particular, if a person used a firearm (or had it in his/her possession) while committing the crime of domestic violence, either of the following could apply:

    • as part of a law enforcement officer’s investigation of the crime, the officer can take (seize) any firearms owned or possessed by the abuser to be used as evidence in court - however, the firearms can be returned to the abuser if they are not needed as evidence; or
    • as part of the sentencing for being convicted of a crime involving domestic violence, the judge must order the weapon used to be taken away (forfeited).2

    Lastly, under Alaska state law, a person cannot get a permit to carry a concealed handgun if s/he has been convicted of two or more class A misdemeanors (in any state) within the past six years.3

      If any of these situations apply to the abuser, it may be illegal for him/her to have a gun. Also, federal laws, which apply to all states, may restrict an abuser’s right to have a gun. Go to Federal Gun Laws to get more information.

      1 Alaska Statute §§ 11.61.200(a)(1), (b)(1)(c) ; 12.55.185(18)
      2 Alaska Statute §§ 12.55.015(f); 18.65.515(b)
      3 Alaska Statute § 18.65.705(4)

      How can I find out if the abuser has been convicted of a crime?

      Misdemeanor and felony records are open to the public, but they are not always easy to access. If you know the exact courthouse where the abuser may have been convicted, you can go to the courthouse and ask the clerk of court for access to those records.

      Domestic violence misdemeanor and felony records are also kept in the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). However, no one other than law enforcement officials and licensed firearm sellers are allowed to search the NICS. Your local police department may be willing to search NICS for you if you ask, but they are not required to do so

      To read more about the NICS, please see What will happen if the abuser tries to purchase a gun?

      The Abuser Isn't Supposed to Have a Gun...Now What?

      If the abuser's gun is taken away, what will happen to it?

      If the abuser has been convicted of a crime involving domestic violence and the judge orders the gun to be given (forfeited) to a law enforcement agency, the gun will not be returned to the abuser.1 Most likely, it will be destroyed or resold.

      However, if the gun was taken away as part of a law enforcement officer’s investigation of a crime related to domestic violence, the firearms will likely be returned to the abuser if they are not needed as evidence in a resulting criminal case.2

      1 See Alaska Statute § 12.55.015(f)
      2 Alaska Statute § 18.65.515(b)

      Who do I notify if I think the abuser should not have a gun?

      If you think the abuser is violating state firearm laws, you can call your local police or sheriff department or the State Police. If you think the abuser is violating federal firearm laws, you can call the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF).

      You can find contact information for sheriff departments in your area on our AK Sheriff Departments page.

      You can find ATF field offices in Alaska on the ATF website. For reporting illegal firearm activity, a person can also call 1-800-ATF-GUNS (1-800-283-4867). Many ATF offices have victim advocates on staff (called “victim/witness coordinators”) and so perhaps you may ask to speak one of these advocates if you are having a hard time connecting with (or receiving a call back from) an ATF officer.

      A local domestic violence organization in your area may also be able to answer your questions and assist you in talking to the necessary law enforcement officials. You will find contact information for organizations in your area on our AK Advocates and Shelters page.

      Note: Generally, the abuser does not have to have knowledge of the law in order to be arrested for breaking the law. If the abuser has or buys a gun in violation of the law, the abuser can be arrested, whether or not s/he knows that s/he was in violation of the law.1

      1United States v. Lippman, 369 F. 3d 1039 (8th Cir. 2004); United States v. Henson, 55 F. Supp. 2d 528 (S.D. W.V. 1999)

      What is the penalty for violating state firearm laws?

      If someone has a firearm in his/her possession when his/her physical or mental condition is impaired due to alcohol or drugs, it is a class A misdemeanor. 1 If s/he has a firearm in his/her possession and is committing the crime of criminal trespass in the first degree while his/her physical or mental condition is impaired due to alcohol or drugs, it is a more serious crime - a class C felony.2

      It is also class C felony for someone to have a firearm that is small enough to be carried as a concealed weapon if s/he was convicted of a felony or was found “delinquent” as a minor for an act that would be a felony if committed by an adult. However, for all felonies and for most juvenile convictions, it is no longer a crime once ten years have passed since the person completed any jail sentence, parole, and probation​.3

      A class A misdemeanor is punishable by up to one year in jail, a fine of up to $25,000, or both. A class C felony is punishable by imprisonment for up to five years, a fine of up to $50,000, or both.4

      1 Alaska Statute § 11.61.210 (a)(1), (d)
      2 Alaska Statute § 11.61.200(a)(7)
      3 Alaska Statute § 11.61.200(a)(1), (b)(1)(c), (i)
      4 Alaska Statute §§ 12.55.035 (b)(4), (b)(5); 12.55.135(a); 12.55.125(e)

      ¿Qué pasará si el agresor intenta comprar un arma?

      Antes de comprar un arma de fuego de un/a vendedor/a licenciado/a, todos los/las compradores/as deben someterse a un chequeo de antecedentes penales realizado por el Sistema Nacional de Chequeo Instantáneo de Antecedentes Penales (“National Instant Criminal Background Check System,” o “NICS” por sus siglas en inglés). El Sistema Nacional de Chequeo Instantáneo de Antecedentes Penales es utilizado por los/as licenciatarios/as federales de armas de fuego (“FFLs,” por sus siglas en inglés) para determinar de forma instantánea si alguien es elegible para recibir explosivos o armas de fuego.1 Si el/la agresor/a tiene una orden de protección calificada en su contra o, si ha sido sentenciado/a por un delito grave o un delito menos grave por violencia doméstica intrafamiliar en cualquier estado, esos registros deben estar en el NICS, lo cual debería imposibilitarle a el/la agresor/a comprar un arma de fuego. No todos los estados tienen un sistema automatizado de registro, lo que dificulta el proceso de verificación de antecedentes penales, por lo tanto, algunos criminales y agresores/as logran burlar el sistema. También es importante saber que no se necesita una verificación de antecedentes penales para ventas privadas y a través del Internet.

      Si el/la agresor/a pudo comprar un arma y usted entiende que él/ella no debe tener una legalmente, usted puede avisarle a la policía y pedir que le quiten el arma y quizás ellos/as lo/a investigarán. Generalmente no es buena idea asumir que porque el/la agresor/a pudo comprar un arma, es legal que la tenga.

      1National Criminal Justice Reference Service website

      More Information and Where to Get Help

      I do not have a protective order against the abuser, and s/he has not been convicted of any crime. Can s/he have a gun?

      Even if you do not have a protective order and the abuser was not convicted of any crimes, it is illegal under Alaska law for someone to have a firearm in his/her possession while his/her physical or mental condition is impaired due to alcohol or drugs.1

      Additionally, under Alaska law, a person cannot get a permit to carry a concealed handgun if s/he:

      • is under age 21; or
      • is currently, or has been within the past three years, ordered by a court to complete an alcohol or substance abuse treatment program.2

      If any of these situations apply to the abuser, it may be illegal for him/her to have a gun. Also, federal laws, which apply to all states, may restrict an abuser’s right to have a gun. Go to Federal Gun Laws to get more information.

      1 Alaska Statute §§ 11.61.210(a)(1); 11.61.200(a)(7)
      2 Alaska Statute § 18.65.705(1), (5)

      I've read through all of this information and I am still confused. What can I do?

      Trying to understand both federal and state law can be confusing, but there are people out there who can help you better understand the law and your rights under the law:

      • You can contact the National Center on Protection Orders and Full Faith & Credit to get more information about the federal firearm law and how it applies to you: 1-800-903-0111 x 2;
      • You can contact us;
      • You can contact a local domestic violence or sexual assault program in your area.  To find an organization near you, see our AK Advocates and Shelters page.