New Firearms Law for Alaska National Parks
Contact: Allison Banks, Public Information Officer, 907-697-2230
A change in federal law effective February 22, allows people who can legally possess firearms under federal, state and local laws to possess those firearms in National Park units in Alaska.
The new federal law makes possession of firearms in national parks also subject to the firearms laws of the state and communities where the parks are located.
“We have consulted with the State of Alaska and federal officials to ensure that we clearly understand the provisions of the laws that will now apply to visitors when they are in national parks in Alaska, said NPS Alaska Regional Director Sue Masica. “We encourage every visitor who may wish to bring firearms to the parks to do their research ahead of time and ensure that they are aware of and abide by the laws that apply. Our goal is to provide safe, enjoyable park visits for everyone, and to preserve these special places for people today and future generations.”
In Alaska, the effects of the law will be seen primarily at Denali, Katmai, and Glacier Bay National Parks and in Klondike Gold Rush and Sitka National Historical Parks. The possession of firearms had been illegal in some or all areas of those parks.
The new federal law has no effect on existing laws and regulations regarding the use of firearms in national parks. Sport and subsistence hunting provisions remain unchanged in national park units in Alaska. Federal law also continues to prohibit firearms in certain facilities, such as park visitor centers; these facilities are posted with appropriate notices at public entrances.
National Park Service Director Jon Jarvis said “We will administer this law as we do all others – fairly. For nearly 100 years, the mission of the National Park Service has been to protect and preserve the parks and to help all visitors enjoy them. The parks belong to all Americans, and our commitment to the American people is to ensure the safety of our visitors and the special places that have been entrusted to our care.”
For more information about firearms laws that apply to Glacier Bay National Park, please visit laws and policies in the management section of the Glacier Bay web site.
Did You Know?
John Muir, beloved naturalist and father of Yosemite National Park, came to Glacier Bay in 1879 to find direct evidence of the presence of glaciers. He believed that Yosemite had been carved by glacier and was able to validate his hypothesis with what he saw in Glacier Bay.