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FAIRBANKS - A Second Amendment rights group in Fairbanks is encouraging members to bring their guns out into the open.
Scaheffer Cox with the group Second Amendment Task Force is urging everyone to wear their guns during open carry days this weekend and next. He expects about 500 people to participate.
"There's a social stigma that only cops and robbers have guns," Cox told the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner. "The truth is everybody is packing but nobody knows it because we keep it concealed."
Fairbanks Police Chief Dan Hoffman doesn't oppose the show of arms.
"There's no law that prohibits a citizen in the state of Alaska from carrying an open, legal firearm," Hoffman said. "It's perfectly legal."
Hoffman believes this is in reaction to the election of President Barack Obama, a Democrat.
"I think there's a lot of fear and concern out there with the new presidential administration that gun ownership and Second Amendment rights are going to come under attack," Hoffman said.
The Second Amendment Task Force was spawned from an "ongoing encroachment on the right to bear arms," said Cox, 24, who unsuccessfully ran for the state Legislature last year. "It's a general trend that has been a long time building that has picked up momentum lately.
"It's definitely not a partisan issue in terms of Democrat or Republican," he said. "It's not right versus left. It's the state versus you."
About 600 people attended the group's last meeting, Cox said. He described the crowd as "regular old Alaskans" concerned about their rights.
"There's a lot of volatile feelings behind this issue," he said.
He said the decision to display guns publicly is "kind of a word of mouth thing."
"I think it will catch on pretty fast," he added.
Cox said he's hoping to organize a panel discussion about Second Amendment rights for the group's next meeting on March 5. He's trying to arrange panelists to represent agencies ranging from law enforcement and the military to state government and the judicial branch.