Gun activist blames legal troubles on police, mother-in-law (April 10, 2010)

FAIRBANKS -- An Alaska gun rights activist blames his recent legal troubles on a bothersome mother-in-law and local police.

Second Amendment Task Force leader Schaeffer Cox has been arrested twice in recent months -- first in an altercation with his wife, and then for allegedly failing to notify a Fairbanks police officer he was carrying a concealed weapon.

Cox, 26, spoke Friday night to about 40 members of the gun rights group, the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reported. He acknowledged pushing his wife, but said he never punched or choked her as Alaska State Troopers initially claimed in charging documents.

"I'm not justifying my behavior," he said. "I was being a button-pushing jerk, but I don't go beyond that."

He said he and his wife argued six weeks ago about visiting his mother-in-law, with whom he has never gotten along because of his conservative beliefs.

When Cox's mother-in-law heard of the dispute, she went to troopers, and he was charged with second-degree felony assault. Cox pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of reckless endangerment, a misdemeanor.

"She feels that anything she can do to rescue her daughter from the Sam Adams of the 21st century is justifiable," Cox said.

Cox's second arrest came last month, while he was monitoring the scene of a police search. When Cox entered the home, an officer saw a knife and patted him down, finding a concealed handgun, investigators said. State law requires people who come in contact with a law enforcement officer while carrying a concealed firearm to immediately notify the officer.

Cox said local law enforcement is engaged in "character assassination" in an attempt to dissuade people from joining the Second Amendment Task Force.

Reception of Cox's explanation of events was mixed, with several people telling him he should have fought the assault charges and taken the case to a jury if he was innocent.

Cox said he felt the case was resolved fairly.

"Honestly, I probably did recklessly endanger my wife," he said. "But they dropped all those heinous accusations that were so horrible."