Haines Borough interim police chief Josh Dryden said the department will begin enforcing a state law that prohibits guns in vehicles on school campuses.

  Last week police contacted an individual about a gun unsecured in a rifle rack in the rear window of a vehicle on school property.

  “I don’t know why it wasn’t enforced in the past; small town ‘perks,’ I guess,” Dryden said.  “Citizens thinking they can do what they want because ‘It’s Haines, nothing bad can happen here.’”

  Weapons in vehicles on school property need to be secured and out of sight, Dryden said, though technically they are not allowed on the property regardless of their visibility or containment.

  “If a weapon is secured and out of sight it is still violating the law, so therefore I cannot condone it,” he said.

  Outgoing school superintendent Rich Carlson said if the firearm is secured, the school isn’t too concerned. “These days it is becoming more of an issue around the country with school violence, but these sorts of situations just sort of happen because of where we live. I tend to not make a big deal out of it,” he said.

In Klawock, where Carlson used to work, students would sometimes bring rifles in their cars because they were going hunting before or after school. “How we reacted — whether it be right or wrong — was to bring the kid in and let the kid know that was unacceptable, call the parent, and make sure the gun was removed from the car.”

Bringing a firearm on school property constitutes fourth-degree misconduct involving a weapon, a Class A misdemeanor.