Self-defense scenarios are often hard to predict, but Rep. Mark Neuman, R-Big Lake, is trying to strengthen Alaska’s self-defense laws by introducing a bill allowing you to protect yourself in places "You have a right to be in", such as a downtown street or public lands used for hunting.
The current law on the books only allows you that right in your home, apartment or place of business.
"You don't want to end up in court with the bad guy saying, well Alaska's laws saying you have a duty to retreat, and you didn't so now you're the one who's at fault," said Rep. Neuman.
Alaska’s statute says you may use deadly force in self-defense on another person when to the extent that person reasonably believes the use of deadly force is necessary for self-defense against death, serious physical injury, kidnapping, assault, sexual assault, sexual abuse of a minor and robbery.
Rep. Les Gara, D-Anchorage, says he's uncertain on how he will vote on the bill.
"On one hand, everybody already has the right to self-defense, so people who think they don't, are wrong - on the other side, people think the bill lets people shoot anybody wherever they want and they can't do that under this bill,” said Rep. Gara. “The bill is a minor change to the law, and a lot of people are looking at it real closely."
Rep. Neuman filed this bill last year, however it was still in committee when the legislature adjourned at the end of session.
Neuman added “We've heard some comment on the school vouchers bill now, and on oil taxes, but other than that, this bill receives more comment from the public and more support from the public."
HB24 is scheduled for a floor vote Wednesday.
Contact Adam Pinsker