Today, Governor Sean Parnell (R) signed into law House Bill 24. This landmark self-defense improvement law ensures stronger protections for law-abiding Alaskans from criminals and criminal prosecution if he or she must exercise necessary self-defense measures without retreating from any place they have a legal right to be. HB 24, introduced by state Representative Mark Neuman (R-10), passed in the state Senate on April 11 by a 15-4 vote after approval by the House of Representatives in a 29-4 vote in March. This bill takes positive steps to ensure that the law protects the innocent – not criminals – and will take effect in ninety days.
Under existing state law, if a person is justified in using deadly force in self-defense, there is no duty-to-retreat if the person is in his or her home, business or on his or her own property. In any other place, however, if a person “knows” that he or she can safely retreat from an encounter, the person is legally required to do so. This legislation would extend this protection so a person, if justified in using deadly force in self-defense, has no-duty-to-retreat from any place the person has a legal right to be. Therefore, as the law stood before enactment of HB 24, a person who resisted an aggressor bore the risk of a finding that, although the response was proportional to the reasonably-perceived threat, the person overestimated the difficulty of getting away unscathed and is, therefore, guilty of a crime despite being justified to react with defensive force. Removing the retreat provision shifts some of the risk calculation back to the aggressor. For more information on this legislation, please click here.
The NRA, on behalf of our tens of thousands of Alaska members, thanks Governor Parnell for signing House Bill 24 into law.
Additionally, Governor Parnell signed House Bill 69 into law today. This bill, as enacted, restricts state and localities from using assets to implement or aid in the implementation of the requirements of certain federal statutes, regulations, rules, and orders that are applied to infringe on a person's right to bear arms or right to due process. This bill will go into effect in ninety days.