Alaska editorial: Every Gun is loaded

This editorial first appeared in the Anchorage Daily News:

On Friday came the good news that Ashton Chinnis, the 2-year-old Anchorage boy shot in the head when a gun discharged in an adjoining condo, was improving. May that continue to a full recovery. We can’t imagine a better Christmas gift for his family

It’s a gift that shouldn’t have been necessary.

Police said that Ronald Flannigon was handling a handgun when he accidentally fired a shot that went through a wall and struck the sleeping boy.

No charges have been filed, though the case was still under investigation as of Friday. If Flannigon is a decent man, he’s miserable as hell right now.

There’s an old lesson here that bears repeating and those of us who have firearms should take it to heart. Every gun is loaded, all the time. The right handling of firearms is necessary, all the time. You want that gospel from the source? Ask the people with expertise and years of experience in firearms use — whether for target shooting, hunting, self-defense or in combat. They’ll tell you. Never treat a firearm, or any weapon, lightly.

Or you can ask those who have been on either end of a terrible accident.

This is the season when some Alaskans will give and receive firearms as gifts. None of them are toys.

Many Alaskans have grown up with firearms as part of the household, and for many Alaskans the Second Amendment has no ambiguity — the right to bear arms is an individual right. In 1994, Alaskans amended our state constitution to say so.

The right to have deadly force at our fingertips comes with a dead-serious responsibility. The only way to take up a firearm is to do so while sober, careful and well-versed in its handling, with a care for both yourself and the people around you — even those you can’t see, on the other side of the wall.

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Thu, 01/19/2017 - 09:41

Letter: A pro-life presidency is something to be thankful for

​On Jan. 20, we will see the inauguration of a new president. From the pro-life perspective, this is something to be thankful for. That day represents the departure from the White House of one of the most pro-abortion presidents we have seen to date. His replacement is a man who has voiced support for a number of pro-life, pro-family initiatives that will protect the rights of the unborn and their mothers. Read more

Thu, 01/19/2017 - 09:22

My Turn: Alaska’s national parks need infrastructure support

In 2016, the National Park Service celebrated its centennial anniversary. 2017 marks the 100th anniversary of Denali National Park, one of the many crown jewels in Alaska’s collection of our national parks. These parks represent the very best and most treasured public lands in our country. As we hear about badly needed infrastructure improvements to our roads, bridges and utilities nationwide, it’s important to remember that our national parks are not immune to these challenges. Denali National Park alone faces an infrastructure repair backlog to roads and facilities of $53 million.

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Thu, 01/19/2017 - 09:22

My Turn: Reflecting on why I love Alaska

Gov. Bill Walker issued a proclamation designating 2017 as a “Year of History and Heritage” in recognition of Alaska’s sesquicentennial — the 150th year since Russia ceded its possessions and interests in Alaska to the United States. Gov. Walker’s proclamation encourages all Alaskans “to study, teach, reflect upon our past, and apply its lessons to a brighter, more inclusive future.”

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Thu, 01/19/2017 - 08:47

Outside Editorial: NATO and the EU: Mend them, don’t end them

The following editorial first appeared in the Chicago Tribune:

In lamenting President Barack Obama's foreign and military policies, Republicans have frequently offered a concise summary: "Our allies don't trust us, and our enemies don't fear us." They didn't imagine the day would come when the same might be said of a Republican president. But that's the prospect Donald Trump raises. Read more

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