There’s apparently a lot I don’t understand about Alaska’s laws. 

I was reminded of that early this week when Alaska State Troopers responded to gunfire at Jim Creek. Not a little gunfire, but according to witnesses, thousands of rounds being fired.

I’m familiar with the Knik River Public Use Area, or Jim Creek, as it’s usually called. It’s a great place to ride four-wheelers. And, it used to be a good place to see burned-out cars and signs used for target practice.

At 3 in the morning this past Monday, troopers responded to reports of gunfire at Jim Creek, and when they showed up, found two gun enthusiasts from Anchorage, enthusiastically engaged in illegal target shooting dangerously close to fishermen.

A third man ran off, according to troopers, but the other men stayed behind to face the music, although, it might have been hard to run carrying 20 guns.

When I said enthusiasts, I meant enthusiasts. Among the small arsenal were six stolen guns, including a stolen semi-automatic rifle. Not “a” stolen gun-- but six.

So, what would you expect troopers to do when they come across a cache of stolen weapons-- and the men using them?

Well, apparently in Alaska, you get only a citation for shooting in a public use area. As penalties go, think parking ticket.

Troopers say it’s a high legal bar to prove that those in possession of the stolen property were the same men who stole it. If that’s the case, I don’t see how you could convict somebody for car theft if they say they had no idea the car they are sitting in was stolen.

In fact, in Alaska, it is considered theft if you are simply in possession of stolen property and show “reckless disregard” that it was stolen.

So, I guess that’s the rub.

According to troopers, the gun enthusiasts told them they didn’t know that six of their 20 guns were stolen.

I mean, what are the chances? Like, one in three?

Along with the citations, troopers are forwarding the case to the Palmer District Attorney for further review.

In the meantime, remember if you’re caught with stolen property, just say you had no idea where you got it.

And, if you’re going to fish at Jim Creek, you might want to bring a flak jacket.

And I’m John Tracy. If you’re caught with six stolen guns, you might think you’re in big trouble. If so, you need a Reality Check.

John's opinions are his own and are not necessarily those of Denali Media or its employees.

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