One thing most Alaskans know is that guns are tools. Many in the 49th state still live close to the land. They use guns to feed themselves by killing animals for food, and they use guns to defend themselves against grizzly bears that would like to make them food.
Confession here: I once used a handgun to shoot a grizzly bear off my leg after making the unfortunate discovery that not all grizzly charges are bluffs. Whether the gun saved my life or simply prevented the bear from ripping me up even more is up for debate; suffice to say that even though I had no desire to shoot this bear, I'm glad I did. Obviously, this incident also colors my attitudes toward guns.
But it is in most ways irrelevant to what I'm about to say next to advocates of gun control: If you're in the anti-gun crowd wondering why those in the pro-gun crowd think you're nuts, look no further than Joe Zamudio.
~ snip ~
Life is a dangerous business. We're all under a death sentence. None of us are going to live forever. Often luck, good or bad, determines the outcome.
People can argue back and forth, one way or another, about whom in this country should have guns and who shouldn't. But in the end it really comes down to something pretty simple: You either trust your fellow citizens, or you believe we're only going to be safe if firearms are limited to officialdom and maybe the ruling elite.
This debate is often painted Outside as a "culture war" issue of the lefty/big government/anti-gun liberals versus the righty/small government/pro-gun conservatives and libertarians. Well, the partisan lines fracture here in Alaska, where guns remain tools. Yes, former half-term Gov. Sarah Palin is pro gun - herself a former big-taxing, big government Lefty turned anti-tax, anti-government Mama Grizzly Righty - and a "rabid" supporter of the Second Amendment. But so is former state Democratic Rep. Eric Croft, who ran for governor at the same time Palin did, and who has always been an unabashed "liberal."
Croft authored the legislation that got rid of an Alaska law requiring concealed-carry permits. The Anchorage attorney thought the law went too far. "I object to the government putting a precondition on that Constitutional right," Croft said. "I'm presumed to be a responsible citizen until proven otherwise."