Legislature(2021 - 2022)BARNES 124


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Heard & Held
Heard & Held
-- Public Testimony --
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
               HB 11-DEFENSIVE DISPLAY OF FIREARM                                                                           
8:06:06 AM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR SCHRAGE announced that the  next order of business would                                                               
be HOUSE  BILL NO. 11, "An  Act relating to assault  in the third                                                               
and fourth degrees; and relating to reckless endangerment."                                                                     
CO-CHAIR SCHRAGE opened public testimony on HB 11.                                                                              
8:06:32 AM                                                                                                                    
AOIBHEANN  CLINE,  ESQ,  Alaska State  Director,  National  Rifle                                                               
Association,  testified  in support  of  HB  11.   She  said  the                                                               
proposed legislation  would clarify Alaska law  to allow Alaskans                                                               
"to  protect  themselves  in  situations"  by  allowing  them  to                                                               
"defensively  display   a  firearm."     She   said  self-defense                                                               
situations  are  not "cut  and  dry,"  and  HB 11  would  provide                                                               
Alaskans  with  "resources  and   tools  to  display  and  thwart                                                               
attacks."  She  said defensive display of firearms  laws exist in                                                               
Arizona,  Iowa, Montana,  and  Oklahoma.   She  said Oklahoma  is                                                               
enhancing  language in  2021 "to  allow  law-abiding citizens  to                                                               
protect themselves."   She opined that  it is time for  Alaska to                                                               
allow its citizens  to do the same  "in self-defense situations."                                                               
She urged the committee to support HB 11.                                                                                       
8:07:47 AM                                                                                                                    
JOYANNE BLOOM,  Volunteer, Moms  Demand Action  for Gun  Sense in                                                               
America,  Alaska  Chapter,  said  at  the sight  of  a  gun,  she                                                               
changes, because  "something bad  is going to  happen" regardless                                                               
of her choice between flight or fight.   She opined that HB 11 is                                                               
a bad idea,  "a dangerous free pass to use  and brandish firearms                                                               
recklessly  and   for  the  purpose   of  intimidation   with  no                                                               
consequences."    She said,  "This  is  not how  responsible  gun                                                               
owners behave,  and it  should not  be allowed  in Alaska."   Ms.                                                               
Bloom  said Alaska  has the  highest rate  of gun  deaths in  the                                                               
U.S., and HB 11 does nothing  to address that issue.  She likened                                                               
that to adding dry  kindling to a fire.  She  expressed that as a                                                               
woman, mother, and  grandmother, she is afraid, and  she does not                                                               
want to see guns in her  neighborhood or for her offspring to see                                                               
guns "carried  in the open  in threatening ways."   She advocated                                                               
for  responsible  gun owners  to  continue  "to keep  their  guns                                                               
locked, away from children, and out of sight."                                                                                  
8:09:34 AM                                                                                                                    
LUANN  MCVEY, Volunteer,  Moms  Demand Action  for  Gun Sense  in                                                               
America, Alaska Chapter,  testified in opposition to HB  11.  She                                                               
stated that the presence of  firearms often exacerbates conflict;                                                               
guns are  often too quickly  used to cause devastating  harm that                                                               
could  be  avoided by  deescalating  a  situation through  mutual                                                               
respect and  negotiation.   She shared a  situation in  which her                                                               
neighbor set off  fireworks, resulting in a fire in  front of her                                                               
house.   She said angry words  were exchanged, and a  day later a                                                               
resolution had been reached.  She  speculated as to a more lethal                                                               
result if she had brought a  firearm into the exchange instead of                                                               
addressing the  issue verbally.  Ms.  McVey opined that HB  11 is                                                               
unnecessary, because Alaska law  already protects people with "an                                                               
authentic reason to defend themselves."   She added, "Most people                                                               
are not likely to be in a situation  where they need to use a gun                                                               
to defend  themselves."  She urged  the committee not to  pass HB
11 out of committee.                                                                                                            
8:11:31 AM                                                                                                                    
MIKE COONS testified  in support of HB 11.   He said the previous                                                               
speaker would  have been  arrested if she  had brought  a firearm                                                               
into  the  situation she  described.    He  related that  he  has                                                               
presented a firearm  four times to stop criminal  action that put                                                               
his own life and the lives  of others in danger, and he described                                                               
instances  where   the  presence   of  his   firearm  deescalated                                                               
situations.   He said he has  never had to pull  the trigger, but                                                               
use  of a  weapon has  stopped life-threatening  situations.   He                                                               
said  he carries  a concealed  weapon,  has undergone  [firearms]                                                               
training, and is  aware of the law.   He opined that  it is wrong                                                               
to  arrest a  person  for displaying  a weapon  when  in fear  of                                                               
his/her life.   He  asked the  committee to pass  [HB 11]  out of                                                               
8:14:10 AM                                                                                                                    
ROCHELLE PARKER, Volunteer,  Moms Demand Action for  Gun Sense in                                                               
America, Alaska Chapter,  testified in opposition to HB  11.  She                                                               
said  the  proposed legislation  would  state  that displaying  a                                                               
firearm can  never be considered reckless  conduct or categorized                                                               
as a third  or fourth degree assault.  She  said this would allow                                                               
gun owners  to brandish  firearms carelessly  for the  purpose of                                                               
intimidation  and   with  no  consequences.     Ms.  Parker  said                                                               
introducing a  firearm, whether fired or  not, rarely deescalates                                                               
a volatile situation; conversely,  research shows that displaying                                                               
firearms  makes  people  more   aggressive,  which  could  create                                                               
substantial risk of injury.  She  said that under HB 11, an angry                                                               
driver  could waive  a firearm  during a  traffic dispute,  which                                                               
could cause a  collision.  A person could display  a firearm in a                                                               
crowd,  resulting in  panic ending  in  injury or  tragedy.   Ms.                                                               
Parker  said roughly  4.5  million women  alive  today have  been                                                               
threatened with a  gun by an intimate partner, which  has lead to                                                               
those  women  experiencing  more severe  psychological  symptoms.                                                               
She  opined  that considering  the  frequency  of mass  shootings                                                               
reported  in the  news, it  is reckless  and unsafe  to give  gun                                                               
owners  the  right to  irresponsibly  exhibit  their firearms  in                                                               
public or private spaces.                                                                                                       
8:16:11 AM                                                                                                                    
POLLY  CARR  testified  in  opposition   to  HB  11,  calling  it                                                               
legislation   that  would   normalize   the  use   of  guns   for                                                               
intimidation purposes.   She said as  a mother she does  not want                                                               
to see people  displaying firearms at events to  which she brings                                                               
her 10-year-old  daughter.  She said  she thinks it is  "a direct                                                               
threat to safety of all."   She relayed that intimidation tactics                                                               
with  guns have  been  used both  historically  and currently  to                                                               
threaten people,  particularly people of  color, at events.   She                                                               
said  this  happened  in Anchorage  and  Palmer  during  peaceful                                                               
"Black Lives  Matter" rallies,   at which  others showed  up with                                                               
rifles  and  semi-automatic  weapons,  the effect  of  which  was                                                               
"chilling  and psychologically  terrifying for  many."   She said                                                               
she views HB 11 as  another attempt to suppress civic engagement.                                                               
She  said HB  11 would  allow a  person to  display a  firearm to                                                               
dissuade  a  threatening  person.     She  stated,  "The  current                                                               
political  climate  has  been made  increasingly  violent  as  an                                                               
outcome of  years of  public manipulation  by partisan  media and                                                               
certain political  figures."   She said  many believe  that those                                                               
who disagree  with those people are  perceived as a threat.   She                                                               
referred to  the events of January  6, 2021, at the  White House.                                                               
She said HB  11 has the potential to increase  violence at public                                                               
events, is "a  solution in search of a problem,"  and, if passed,                                                               
would  create severe  impacts to  democracy,  public safety,  and                                                               
society.   She  asked the  committee  not to  pass HB  11 out  of                                                               
8:18:20 AM                                                                                                                    
PATTY  OWEN,  Volunteer, Moms  Demand  Action  for Gun  Sense  in                                                               
America, Alaska Chapter,  testified in opposition to HB  11.  She                                                               
opined,  "No responsible  gun owner  should have  to think  twice                                                               
about the  danger involved  in waiving  a gun in  the air."   She                                                               
questioned why anyone  would think it was okay to  brandish a gun                                                               
in a  state where aggravated  assaults with a gun  have increased                                                               
by an average of  65 percent a year since 2003  and fire arms are                                                               
the leading  cause of  death among children  and teenagers.   She                                                               
said brandishing  a gun  endangers all who  are in  the vicinity,                                                               
including  the  person  with   the  gun,  especially  considering                                                               
Alaska's "Stand Your Ground" law.   Ms. Owen said that in a state                                                               
with no  apparent gun safety  laws, it  is no wonder  that Alaska                                                               
has the  highest rate  of gun  deaths in the  country.   She said                                                               
Alaska's gun  laws have  become more lenient,  while the  rate of                                                               
gun deaths  has increased by almost  20 percent.  As  an example,                                                               
she noted Alaska  once required a permit for  concealed carry but                                                               
now  allows a  person  to  carry concealed  without  a permit  or                                                               
training.  She  talked about protecting Alaskans  from gun deaths                                                               
and  injuries, which  she said  are preventable.   She  concluded                                                               
that "doing nothing is the slippery slope to increase tragedy."                                                                 
8:20:21 AM                                                                                                                    
ROZLYN WYCHT stated  that she was testifying as a  Black woman in                                                               
opposition to  HB 11.   She noted  the number of  Black relatives                                                               
and friends  she has and spoke  to recent actions being  taken in                                                               
America and  expressed that there  is "a  lot of fear  going on."                                                               
She said  she was at the  Black Lives Matter rally  in Palmer and                                                               
expressed there  was fear  resulting from the  men, most  of them                                                               
White, walking  around carrying guns.   She said she  listened to                                                               
President Biden  and learned that  over 50 women are  killed each                                                               
month by  guns.   She said  she knows  that domestic  violence is                                                               
"huge"  in Alaska.    She  questioned who  is  not  at risk  from                                                               
someone brandishing a weapon, including  her children, who may be                                                               
walking home  from the store and  be in fear from  a neighbor who                                                               
walks outside  wearing a  gun, and things  "go south"  because of                                                               
fear.   Ms. Wycht explained  she is  not against guns  but thinks                                                               
"we  need to  think this  through and  have more  conversation on                                                               
8:22:36 AM                                                                                                                    
LISA IDELL-SASSI  testified in support  of HB  11.  She  said she                                                               
thinks  it is  "our constitutional  right to  protect ourselves,"                                                               
and most people  who carry a gun have a  lot of training, acquire                                                               
a concealed  carry permit, and  are responsible gun owners.   She                                                               
said  opposing  HB  11  would  result in  more  guns  carried  by                                                               
criminals on the street and penalize law-abiding citizens.                                                                      
8:23:21 AM                                                                                                                    
LOUIE  FLORA noted  that although  he is  director of  Government                                                               
Affairs  for the  Alaska Center,  he  was testifying  on his  own                                                               
behalf as "gun  owner, parent, and lifelong Alaskan."   He stated                                                               
opposition  to HB  11 in  the  context of  the current  political                                                               
environment, as "it  appears to increase the use of  guns as both                                                               
political statement and  actual threat to the life  and safety of                                                               
political opponents."   He stated  he also opposes HB  11 because                                                               
Alaska leads the  nation in the number of gun  deaths per capita,                                                               
and  he  predicted  the  proposed  legislation  would  make  that                                                               
statistic worse.   He stated a further reason  for his opposition                                                               
to HB  11 was  because "the  display of  guns is  associated with                                                               
voter suppression  - especially voter suppression  against people                                                               
of color."   Mr. Flora also pointed  out that HB 11  had not been                                                               
analyzed by state  and local public safety  agencies to determine                                                               
how its passage could impact law enforcement activities.                                                                        
8:24:27 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE MCCABE asked Mr. Flora  to name his source for the                                                               
statistic about Alaska  leading the nation in gun  deaths, and he                                                               
asked  for  information regarding  the  types  of crime  the  gun                                                               
deaths included.                                                                                                                
MR.  FLORA answered  that he  had done  research on  the Internet                                                               
yesterday and found  the information on Bloomberg.   He indicated                                                               
it was in  the context of Alaska's high epidemic  of suicide.  He                                                               
said he would send the information to the committee.                                                                            
8:25:34 AM                                                                                                                    
ARI SASSI  testified that  as a proponent  of concealed  and open                                                               
carry and  someone who  has done  both, he supported  HB 11.   He                                                               
indicated that  he has  not heard  any corroborating  evidence to                                                               
support the  statements made  by some  of the  previous speakers,                                                               
including the issue of the number of gun deaths in Alaska.                                                                      
8:26:31 AM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR SCHRAGE, after  ascertaining that there was  no one else                                                               
who wished to testify, closed public testimony on HB 11.                                                                        
[HB 11 was held over.]                                                                                                          

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
4.23.2021 HB 16 Sponsor Statement.pdf HCRA 4/27/2021 8:00:00 AM
HCRA 4/29/2021 8:00:00 AM
HB 16
4.23.2021 HB16 Ver. A.PDF HCRA 4/27/2021 8:00:00 AM
HCRA 4/29/2021 8:00:00 AM
HB 16
2021.4.27 HB 16 CS ver. B.pdf HCRA 4/27/2021 8:00:00 AM
HCRA 4/29/2021 8:00:00 AM
HB 16
4.23.2021 HB 16 Sectional.pdf HCRA 4/27/2021 8:00:00 AM
HCRA 4/29/2021 8:00:00 AM
HB 16
2021.4.29 HB 16 Am. 1 Adopted.pdf HCRA 4/29/2021 8:00:00 AM
HB 16
2021.4.27 HB 16 DOA Fiscal Note.pdf HCRA 4/27/2021 8:00:00 AM
HCRA 4/29/2021 8:00:00 AM
HB 16
4.23.2021HB 11 Sponsor Statement.pdf HCRA 4/27/2021 8:00:00 AM
HCRA 4/29/2021 8:00:00 AM
HB 11
4.23.2021 HB 11 ver A.PDF HCRA 4/27/2021 8:00:00 AM
HCRA 4/29/2021 8:00:00 AM
HB 11
4.23.2021 HB 11 Sectional Analysis.pdf HCRA 4/27/2021 8:00:00 AM
HCRA 4/29/2021 8:00:00 AM
HB 11