Buying Guns and Ammo in Alaska

DISCLAIMER: It is your full responsibility to make sure the firearm, ammunition, or accessories you are purchasing is legal for you to own in your state or jurisdiction. The information contained throughout this web site, including the firearm and ammunition state guide provided below, is not legal advice and should not be construed as legal advice.

This piece covers the ammunition and firearms laws in Alaska. In general terms, the laws in the state are permissive, meaning that there are few legal hurdles for most people who want to purchase, own, and carry firearms and ammunition within the state.

We begin with coverage of the ammunition laws in the state and the process of having ammunition shipped to residential addresses. From there, the piece covers the general legal process of buying firearms in the state and then turns to the laws surrounding the carrying of those firearms. Finally, the piece concludes with some additional resources to help you find gun stores, good spots to shoot, and online forums that can keep you up to date with gun laws and relevant events in Alaska.

Alaska has preemption of local firearms laws. This means that the state has forbidden smaller political subdivisions, such as cities and counties, from making firearms laws that are more restrictive than those that are found at the state level. For firearms owners in the state, this is helpful, since you only have to learn and follow one set of laws to remain in compliance with the rules Alaska has set as a state.

This piece is not meant as legal advice. Instead, we hope that it can serve as a good starting point for people interested in purchasing and carrying firearms ammunition in Alaska. Of course, all federal laws also apply in Alaska, so it is a good idea to read up on federal firearm and ammunition laws as well.

Ammo Laws/Buying Ammo in Alaska 

First, we will cover the ammo laws of the state. 

Alaska has some of the most permissive ammunition laws in the country. The state has no bans on any types of ammunition. Keep in mind, though, that this piece only covers the general state laws, and does not cover specific hunting regulations. Thus, it is advisable to check with the state’s Department of Fish and Game for up-to-date restrictions on what ammunition types can or cannot be used for hunting specific species.

Because the state has few of its own regulations on ammunition, the main things to consider here are federal regulations. Buyers have to be eighteen years of age to purchase rifle and shotgun ammo, and twenty-one to purchase pistol ammo. Additionally, prohibited persons cannot purchase firearms or ammunition. Generally, prohibited persons are folks who have been convicted of felonies or domestic violence, have been adjudicated as mentally unfit in a court of law, or have been committed to a mental health facility against their will.

The state of Alaska does not prohibit people from having ammunition shipped to their residences. As long as the buyer meets age requirements and is not a prohibited person, it is legal to have ammunition shipped to them at home in Alaska. Keep in mind that carriers can, and sometimes do, impose their own rules. For example, a carrier might require that an adult with a valid ID be present to sign for a package that contains ammunition.

Additionally, Alaska also does not have a magazine ban of any kind.

Between the lack of ammunition restrictions and magazine bans, Alaska’s ammunition laws are among the most permissive in the country, which means that the process of buying and shipping ammunition to Alaska is legally simple, even if the state’s remoteness might make it a more time consuming and expensive process than shipping to the lower 48 states. 

Gun Laws/Buying Guns in Alaska 

Next, we will do the same exercise for gun laws.

As in the case with the ammunition laws for the state, Alaska is permissive when it comes to the buying and selling of firearms. The state does not have any major firearms bans such as an assault weapons ban or similar. Additionally, the state does not impose additional waiting periods on the purchase of firearms, nor does Alaska mandate that private parties selling firearms conduct background checks.

Thus, the firearms buying process in Alaska is about as simple as it can legally be. At a gun store, the buyer should bring a form of payment and valid identification. From there, the buyer will fill out the ATF Form 4473 and go through the standard background check. Assuming that the background check goes well, people can leave with a firearm the same day in Alaska, and the state does not maintain a registration or database of gun purchases.

Alaska is similarly permissive when it comes to carrying firearms. The state does not require anyone over 21 years of age to have a permit to carry a firearm either openly or concealed. Despite this, there is still an application to apply for a concealed handgun permit. As is the common trend among states that allow for permitless carry, the permitting system remains in place so that Alaska residents can get a concealed carry permit that allows them to legally carry a firearm in other states. Alaska’s concealed carry permit is one of the more widely accepted in the country.

There are some restrictions on who can carry firearms, and where they can be carried. Specifically, it is against Alaska law to carry firearms by or in:

  • For people currently involved in domestic violence cases

  • Prohibited persons

  • Courts

  • Schools

  • While intoxicated

  • Inside domestic firearms shelters

These restrictions are not unusual, and vary quite little between states: even the most permissive states have a list of places where firearms are generally prohibited for carry. 

While the state is certainly among the most gun-friendly in terms of firearms and ammunition laws, there is not a lot of manufacturing of firearms on an industrial scale: this is almost certainly due to the remoteness of the state. There are, however, some truly awesome custom shops in the state that specialize in, for example, lever action rifles. 

Overall, Alaska is one of the most firearms-friendly states in the USA in terms of purchasing, owning, and carrying both firearms and ammunition. The vast majority of the restrictions in the state come from the federal level, meaning that it is relatively simple to buy both guns and ammo in Alaska.

Sales Tax on Guns/Ammo in Alaska 

Alaska is one of the few states that has no sales taxes at all at the state level. But, localities can and do impose their own taxes, which can be up to 9.5%. So, choosing the location of a gun store might make a fairly large difference in the final purchase of a firearm within the state.

The state does not impose any special taxes on firearms and ammunition. The lack of a state sales tax is likely quite welcome, considering the shipping costs often associated with living in Alaska.

More Resources:

The Alaska Outdoors Forum is fairly active in terms of both firearms events for the state, but also important updates about hunting regulations that will be very handy for lots of folks in the state.

Alaska Gun Law FAQ:

Alaska is one of the most gun-friendly states in the USA. It has few restrictions on firearms and ammunition purchases, and both open and concealed carry are legal there without a permit. 

No. People who are over 21 and are not prohibited persons can carry openly or concealed without a permit in Alaska. With that said, Alaska does have some restrictions like court buildings, and the state does issue permits intended for residents who would like to carry out of state as well.

No. In fact, the state does not have any bans on specific firearm types, or on magazines.

The state itself maintains a number of ranges, and much of the state’s territory is made up of state and national parks in which shooting is allowed.

This one is complicated. While the state does not itself have ammunition bans in statutes, the fact that much of the shooting in the state is tied to hunting opens shooters up to the regulations of the state’s Department of Fish and Game. That department sets regulations for hunting, including which calibers can be used. While it might be perfectly legal to carry a pistol in .22 long rifle, trying to take a moose with it is not only deeply unethical, but probably a good way to earn a fine and some other penalties.