Lately, I have been hearing how Dan Sullivan, the one running for U.S. Senate, has been trying to rehabilitate his record on firearms. Recently, I came across a couple of scattered comments regarding Dan Sullivan’s record that didn’t sit too well with me. The one I had to do some research on was his opposition to HB 381 in 2010, the original “Stand Your Ground” legislation written by Rep. Mark Neuman. In his letter from the Attorney General’s office, signed by Dan Sullivan dated March 15, 2010, and sent to Jay Ramras, then Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, he stated that the “Stand Your Ground” law would “encourage unnecessary violence in our state…” even going as far as to state that the legislation would cause “unnecessary loss of life,” parroting the mantra of the “left” which claims more guns cause more crime. In particular, he brings attention to a few examples, all of which seem fitting if they came from Think Progress and not a viable Republican U.S. Senate candidate. One of his examples is as follows:
Joe Smith drives to a Party. At the party he gets into an altercation and is thrown out of the party. He goes to his car and gets inside to leave. Before leaving, Mr. Smith sees the person with whom he got into the altercation. Though Mr. Smith is in his car, behind the wheel and ready to leave, he fears the other guy may come after him. Instead of driving off – which he could do with complete personal safety, he gets out of his car and grabs a shotgun from the trunk and kills the other man. Again, these are facts similar to a recent murder trial in Anchorage. The defendant was convicted of and sentenced for manslaughter. The case is now on appeal. This is yet another situation in which our current law requires our citizens to walk away if they can do so with safety, but this proposed change in the law would authorize killing another human being instead.
Mr. Sullivan, the situation you described is actually second-degree murder. In that case the “Stand Your Ground” legislation would do nothing for the defense of this straw-man victim. Another factor, if Joe Smith was in his car, presumably leaving, and the person with whom he had an altercation came out firing on Joe’s vehicle, the “Stand Your Ground” law would give the victim, Joe, the legal support to return fire if making an exit with his vehicle is not practical. That is why legislation like the Castle Law did not go far enough in allowing individual citizens to be secure in places where they had a legal right to be, and why the Legislature in 2013 and the governor made it law. It took three years to undo the damage that progressives and squishy Republicans did to get this legislation to become law. As John Coghill, R-North Pole, one of many who voted for this law, aptly put it to the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner on July 28, 2013, “People can be put in dangerous circumstances very rapidly these days; protection is one of the things that you can do… those things happen in a split second.” He is absolutely right, and you sir have missed the mark.
What frustrates me the most as a citizen of Alaska is the fact that politicians such as Dan Sullivan seem to think that because the laws can be written in favor of the victim, like “Stand Your Ground,” that by immediate extension, the entire state will up for grabs, and otherwise civil Alaskans will turn into a modern day version of the “Wild West.” This type of language is eerily reminiscent of Cook County (Chicago) Sheriff Tom Dart implying that when the State of Illinois was forced to adopt a concealed carry law, Chicago would be the “Wild West.” However, since its passage there The Independent Journal Review reported three weeks ago that Chicago’s crime rates are down to 1958’s level. Certainly, Illinois has a lot of healing to do by years of draconian gun laws that gave incentives for criminals by essentially disarming the local law abiding populace. A law like “Stand Your Ground” in Alaska is a game-changer for would-be assailants, as it gives the assistance of the legal system to the would-be victim. Ultimately, what “Stand Your Ground” will do is deter many of these sorts of hostile encounters from occurring in the first place. A criminal will probably think twice about committing a violent act in the first place, knowing that actions can be taken immediately to thwart the potential antagonist from committing the crime. At this point, I urge all of you to instead say “We Need Mead Treadwell” now more than ever. If Dan Sullivan can be as wrong as he is on this issue, what else will he foist on the Alaskan people?