YOU'VE JUST GOTTA DO IT YOURSELF!
for Guns and Ammo magazine (1998)
by Wayne Anthony
As a kid growing
up in a suburb of Milwaukee, I didn't have much
contact with guns. No one in our family hunted
and the only guns in my then limited arsenal were
toys. I grew up during the final days of the "B
westerns" and after dad bought our first TV set,
we kids would hurry home from school, strap on
our cap guns, and hunker down to watch Hoppy,
Roy, or Gene ride the range on the black and white
a lot simpler then. We knew who the bad guy was
when he first appeared on the screen because bad
guys invariably owned the saloon, always wore
a black hat, and had a black mustache. In those
days, we didn't care if the villain had not been
loved as a kid. He was, simply, "the bad guy"
and we didn't question the reasons behind his
behavior. We wondered, from time to time, of course,
why the bad guy wasn't smart enough to shave his
mustache off or wear a different colored hat,
so that it wouldn't be so obvious that he was
a crook, but mostly we just enjoyed the story
without such in-depth analysis.
My dad, unfortunately,
had a black mustache and wore a black homburg
hat. Consequently, most of my friends were afraid
of him, thinking dad must have had criminal tendencies
because of his appearance. I wasn't too sure of
dad myself, especially when one day I happened
to climb on a chair to look in his top dresser
drawer. Under some handkerchiefs, I found a small
black pistol, a Spanish .25 caliber "Bufalo".
In my youthful ignorance nobody had small black
pistols except the police and criminals, and I
knew my dad wasn't a policeman. I also knew that
dad had lived in Chicago during Prohibition while
AI Capone lived there, and for a long time I wondered
what dad had done in Chicago before I was born.
(Years later I learned the story of the little
black pistol and I wrote about it in an article,
"The Little 'Bufalo'", that appeared in the 22
October 1982 issue of Gun Week.)
my interest in guns and the outdoors can be traced
to those early years and especially to a traumatic
incident that occurred in 7th grade.
I never was
very proficient at athletics, though not for lack
of trying. In 7th grade, I was a member
of Fr. Nuedling's basketball team. The good father
would let me play only when our team was so far
ahead that I couldn't hurt the outcome when I'd
get out on the floor. At the time, my older sister
was dating the star center from the Marquette
Hilltoppers and she invited this basketball celebrity
to come to her little brother's game. I was petrified
at having such an expert see me play but after
I warmed the bench for quite a while, I began
to relax. Finally, when our team was about forty
points ahead, Fr. Nuedling said: "Ross! Get in
there!" and I joined the game. I quickly got my
hands on the ball, dribbling it skillfully down
the court until J was underneath the basket. Taking
careful aim, I made the basket on my first throw,
and the crowd went wild! I was quite pleased with
I had made the basket on the wrong end of the
court! That's why the crowd was yelling.
experience put an end to my attempts at organized
athletics, and I turned to outdoor sports. I became
quite a fisherman and later I took up hunting,
becoming first an accumulator of guns and later
a gun collector.
got too crowded in Wisconsin, I looked into Alaska's
outdoor opportunities, spending the summer of
1967 here, and moving to Alaska permanently after
law school in 1968. Thus, thanks to my "Wrong
Way Corrigan " tendencies on a basketball court
in 7th grade, I was able to enjoy hunting
and fishing in Alaska rather than ending up a
couch potato "Packer-backer" in Wisconsin.
I joined the
NRA in 1964, became a life member in 1975, and
a benefactor member in 1984. I was elected an
NRA Director in 1980 and, other than one year,
I have served as an NRA Director ever since, and
I even held the position of NRA Vice President.
I'm now Chairman of NRA Gun Collectors Committee.
When I began
practicing law, I started getting firearms cases.
One of the first involved an apartment tenant
whose landlord announced that, henceforth, tenants
would no longer be able to have firearms on the
premises. When I wrote the landlord and asked
him for the name of his insurance carrier so I
could notify the carrier that the landlord had
now undertaken to be solely responsible for the
personal safety of his tenants, the landlord changed
his mind about prohibiting tenants' firearms.
an assault case, I had gotten a good deal for
my client but the State wanted his firearm forfeited.
I always have clients assign the firearm to me
as part of my fee in cases such as this, and so
I protested to the judge and filed a pleading
entitled "Motion For Writ Of Habeas Pistola".
The good- humored judge granted my motion and
issued an "Order Granting Writ Of Habeas Pistola",
finding that it would be cruel and unusual punishment
for the gun to be forfeited to the State. (See
Shooting' Times, November 1990.)
In 1995, our
current Governor, Tony Knowles, ended the State's
practice of selling forfeited and surplus handguns
to the public, deciding that such handguns would
be destroyed instead. In a letter to the NRA,
Governor Knowles wrote that Alaskans
concerned about violence. I believe they trust
in me to try to reduce crime and make it harder
for criminals to get their hand on weapons.
Destroying surplus handguns is one way to
do that. As for the money we'll lose by disposing
of guns instead of selling them, I have no
filed suit, seeking a temporary restraining order
against the destruction of those firearms. The
State's attorney told the court that the State
was only going to destroy "sawed-off shotguns,
assault rifles, and Saturday Night Specials".
As a result, the judge declined to grant the restraining
order and the next day some fifty guns were destroyed
by burning with a welding torch. When I got to
view the destroyed guns, I saw that a lovely little
Colt Woodsman, an Air Force survival rifle in
.22 Hornet, and a large number of like-new S&W
.357 Magnum stainless steel revolvers had been
cut up! The State's attorney had lied!
amended my court complaint to seek personal damages
against the Governor "on behalf of the people
of the State of Alaska for the willful destruction
of State property". Shortly thereafter, the Governor
put the destruction of firearms "on hold", later
agreed that no more guns would be destroyed (instead
they would be sold to licensed dealers), and paid
my attorneys fees.
this year, I noticed the Governor's picture in
the newspaper. He was shown shooting one of the
brand new S&W pistols he had gotten for the
Alaska State Troopers by trading in the State's
surplus guns to a local dealer. The Governor was
taking credit for saving the taxpayers money by
utilizing the surplus guns to rearm the Troopers
with newer arms! What a guy!
is very anti-gun and anti-hunting. He vetoed a
bill to improve Alaska's concealed carry law.
(Our Republican-controlled Legislature over-rode
the veto.) He approved putting anti-hunting initiatives
on the ballot, closed certain areas of the State
to bear hunting, and sent hundreds of thousand
of dollars of State funds to extremist environmental
groups who oppose hunting and development of Alaska's
following biologists' recommendations to kill
some wolves to improve moose and caribou hunting,
our Governor spent State funds to sterilize wolves
while, simultaneously, vetoing a ban on partial
birth abortions. Mr. Knowles apparently believes
that wolves are more important than babies!
Constitution provides that fish and game resources
are held in public trust for all Alaskans.
Several years ago, the Alaska Legislature enacted
a law giving a preference in the taking of fish
and game to rural residents. My law firm filed
suit challenging that preference. The Alaska Supreme
Court agreed with us, holding such a preference
Federal law (the Alaska National Interest Lands
Conservation Act, Section VIII), Alaska now faces
a takeover of fish and game management by the
Federal Government because we refuse to provide
a preference in the taking of fish and game by
rural residents. No other State in the Union has
such a threat hanging over the management of its
own resources, and yet our current Governor refuses
to challenge that federal law, claiming we should
bow to Federal pressure and amend our State Constitution
to give special hunting and fishing preferences
to one group of Alaskans over another based on
place of residence!
I'm a guy
from Wisconsin who came here thirty years ago
to raise a family, hunt, fish, and enjoy gun collecting
and the shooting sports. In those thirty years
I've had some great experiences. .
a charging brown bear at 11 steps. I've taken
a musk ox, and a number of Sitka deer, with a
LAR Grizzly .45 Win Mag. I've taken 2 moose and
3 caribou with .45 Long Colt revolvers. I've seen
our oldest son, Greg, get his first caribou 'when
he was thirteen years of age; our second son,
Brian, get his first moose when he was nine; and
our third son, Tim, get his first moose when he
was eight. I've guided my wife, Barb, when she
took her first moose, and our daughter, Amy, when
she took her first moose, one week before Amy
left for college.
I hold an
Assistant Guide's license. I've chaired the Alaskan
Land Use Council Advisors Committee, making recommendations
on Alaska's land. I've served as an Assistant
Attorney General, a Court Trustee, and a Family
Court Master, for the State of Alaska. And I was
Republican National Committeeman for Alaska for
I've had some
good legal and political fights in those thirty
years, and won a lot of them.
But now Alaskans
are facing a battle that will determine the hunting
and fishing rights of future generations of both
Alaskans, and of non residents who might want
to hunt and fish here. That battle is against
the Federal Government's wrongful attempt to control
management of Alaskan resources.
We also face
the same battles that other states are facing
against those who would ignore our constitutional
right to keep and bear arms. And that battle is
against our own State Administration.
a guy to do?
for years to protect constitutional rights and
I've supported others running for election, expecting
them to take over the reins of government and
straighten things out, only to be disappointed
when they didn't get elected, or if elected, failed
to keep their campaign promises.
come to realize, however, what mom meant when
she said: "Sometimes you've just gotta do it yourself
if you want it done right!"
So I've thrown
my hat in the ring and am running for Governor
of Alaska. At least I know that when I'm Governor,
the hunting and fishing rights of all Alaskans
will be protected, and the right to keep and bear
arms will not be infringed. It's a formidable
task, running for Governor of a State that crosses
four time zones and is twice the size of Texas.
But with the help of like minded outdoor and firearms
enthusiasts, I will be elected in November.
And to think
this all started with Hoppy, Roy, and Gene, a
"Bufalo", and a basket made on the wrong end of