An Alaskan regional government is urging its residents to be armed and ready.
The Matanuska-Susitna Borough Assembly voted Tuesday to encourage its people to have guns and ammunition, linking the need to rely on the Second Amendment to an increase in crime and a dearth of state troopers, according to Alaska Public Radio.
Assembly member Ron Bernier said the resolution was presented to address crime issues, particularly in outlying communities.
The sprawling borough is located northeast of Anchorage.
Last year, state Department of Public Safety Commissioner James Cockrell indicated that recruiting troopers was an issue, and at the time, there were 11 vacancies in the patrol detachment covering the region.
Bernier said, however, that regardless of the strength of the state police force in the region, he would support residents being armed.
He noted that other communities in America urge residents to be armed, noting the importance of safety courses and firearms training.
“The first defense is going to be yourself,” Bernier said.
Republican state Rep. Kevin McCabe said that amid concerns he hears from constituents about a lack of law enforcement in the region, he supported the resolution.
The resolution supports “proper and responsible gun ownership.”
The resolution said, “residents of the Matanuska-Susitna Borough can provide for the emergency management of the Borough, and provide for and protect the safety, security, and general welfare of the Borough and its inhabitants, every eligible resident residing in the Borough is encouraged to maintain a firearm, together with ammunition.”
It further noted that “the right to bear arms pre-dated the United States of America and pre-dated the US Constitution.”
The resolution also stated that “the 2nd Amendment to the US Constitution restrains the government from infringing on the pre-existing right to bear arms.”
In an Op-Ed on RedState, borough resident Ward Clark said the resolution was much in the line of the proverbial adage of taking coals to Newcastle.
“Spoiler: This is Alaska. Pretty much everyone is already armed. Out here in the Borough, even the hippies have guns,” he wrote.
“It’s not so much that we’re worried about crime. It’s that one never knows when a moose might get aggressive or a hungry black bear might decide to take a foraging run in your pantry. We all have guns, and what’s more, we know how to use them,” he wrote.
“Alaska, sure, like any place, has its bad actors. But it’s been shown time and time again how armed citizens are one of the best deterrents for crime, and not just here in the Great Land,” he wrote.
Clark noted that in Alaska, gun ownership is common sense.
“Alaskans tend to be pretty practically-minded people. It would be difficult to live out here if one didn’t have a good solid grounding in practical matters. Taking responsibility for your own safety, be that from two-legged or four-legged predators, is part of that,” he wrote.
“That’s probably why you don’t see many carjackings or home invasions in the Great Land; getting shot, after all, can ruin a criminal’s whole day, and in Alaska, betting on your chosen target being unarmed isn’t really the smart way to go,” he wrote.