Tribal leader opposes assault weapons

Ed Thomas, president of the Central Council of the Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska, addresses Southeast Conference members in Juneau Feb. 26. Photo by Ed Schoenfeld

An influential Southeast Alaska tribal leader says he supports banning assault weapons.

Tlingit-Haida Central Council President Ed Thomas says the proposed ban should not be considered a gun-rights issue.

“We have been subsistence people from the beginning of time. And when guns came to our area, it (became) a very vital part of our subsistence way of life. We’re strong advocates for the second amendment rights,” he says. “But we are not in favor of continuing the utilization of assault weapons in our society. There’s no need for it if you’re a hunter or a fisher.”

The central council is a tribal government organization that operates a vocational training center, family- and elder-support services, and a tribal court.

Thomas made his comments last week (Feb. 26th) during an address to the Southeast Conference. That’s a regional organization of business, government and tribal leaders.

He said there is no reason automatic weapons should be in general use.

“Think about why do they not allow assault weapons in the halls of Congress. How come they’re not allowed on airplanes? We’ve learned that when you have those kinds of things in important places, people get goofy,” he says.

Thomas has served as council president for about 25 years.



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