Legislature(2015 - 2016)CAPITOL 106

04/11/2016 08:00 AM EDUCATION

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Audio Topic
12:04:09 PM Start
12:05:02 PM SB174
01:20:33 PM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
-- Delayed to 12:00 p.m. Today --
+ SB 174 REG. OF FIREARMS/KNIVES BY UNIV. OF AK TELECONFERENCED
Moved CSSB 174(FIN) Out of Committee
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
         SB 174-REG. OF FIREARMS/KNIVES BY UNIV. OF AK                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
12:05:02 PM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR KELLER announced  that the only order of  business would be                                                               
CS  FOR  SENATE  BILL  NO.  174(FIN), "An  Act  relating  to  the                                                               
regulation of  firearms and knives  by the University  of Alaska;                                                               
and providing for an effective date."                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
12:05:07 PM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  PETE  KELLY,  Alaska State  Legislature,  explained  the                                                               
intention behind  the CS for SB  174(FIN), which is to  address a                                                               
constitutional  conflict between  the University  of Alaska  (UA)                                                               
and the people of Alaska; and  he pointed out that the university                                                               
is a subdivision of the state.   In 2003 the ability for Alaskans                                                               
to carry a concealed weapon  was adopted; however, the university                                                               
doesn't  recognize  that  right  and  has  implemented  a  policy                                                               
restricting that  freedom.  Red signs  designating the university                                                               
as a gun-free  zone are posted throughout the campus.   These red                                                               
signs are what  is relied upon to ensure campus  safety, he said,                                                               
and conjectured  on why  this is  not sufficient.   The  issue is                                                               
constitutional and  the prohibition  represents overreach  on the                                                               
part of the university.   He recalled the recent campus shootings                                                               
in San  Bernardino, California,  [12/2/15] and  said that  it was                                                               
the impetus  to revisit the  UA policy, along with  other attacks                                                               
across the nation  that have also occurred  in locales designated                                                               
as  gun-free zones.   The  state statute  aligns with  the Second                                                               
Amendment  [of  the  U.S. Constitution],  he  underscored,  which                                                               
doesn't allow  the university to  make a prohibition  for bearing                                                               
of arms on campus.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
12:14:30 PM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE VAZQUEZ  asked for  justification of  the $450,000                                                               
fiscal note.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  KELLY said  it will  be used  primarily for  a study  to                                                               
include a  security analysis, and for  determining further safety                                                               
measures to supplant the ineffective red signs.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
12:16:36 PM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
JOE BYRNES, Staff, Senator Pete  Kelly, Alaska State Legislature,                                                               
referred  to the  fiscal  note  to state  that  the  figure is  a                                                               
reduction from  the initial  $1.3 million  fiscal note,  based on                                                               
legislative models implemented in Idaho and Utah.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
12:18:16 PM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MR. BYRNES provided the sectional analysis, of the CS for SB                                                                    
174(FIN) paraphrasing from a prepared statement, which read as                                                                  
follows [original punctuation provided]:                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
     Section 1                                                                                                                
     It is the  findings and intent of  the legislature that                                                                    
     the right  to bear  arms is  constitutionally protected                                                                    
     under Art. 1, Sec. 19  of the Alaska Constitution, that                                                                    
     the  University  Of Alaska  Board  Of  Regents may  not                                                                    
     abridge  that right,  and the  legislature reserves  to                                                                    
     the state the authority to regulate firearms.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
     Section 2                                                                                                                
     Amends  AS  14.40 (The  University  of  Alaska and  the                                                                    
     Community  Colleges statutes)  affirming the  authority                                                                    
     to  regulate firearms  and knives  is  reserved to  the                                                                    
     state, the  Board of Regents may  not regulate firearms                                                                    
     and knives except                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
     1. In a manner identical to state law                                                                                      
     2.  In  student  dormitories  or  other  shared  living                                                                    
     quarters                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
     The  Board of  Regents may  adopt and  enforce policies                                                                    
     regulating the open carry  of firearms, restricting the                                                                    
     discharge,   and   prohibiting    the   possession   in                                                                    
     restricted access areas.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
     If  the  Board  of  Regents  adopt  regulation  of  the                                                                    
     carrying of handguns in  dormitories, the policies must                                                                    
     require  that  the handgun  is  either  carried on  the                                                                    
     person or secured  in an owner provided  lockbox at all                                                                    
     times. Persons  living in  dormitories must  declare to                                                                    
     the  University their  intention  to keep  a weapon  in                                                                    
     their  dormitory rooms.  The  University may  privately                                                                    
     collect  and store  (for  not more  than  a year)  that                                                                    
     information.  The University  may use  that information                                                                    
     when   making  housing   decisions  for   students  who                                                                    
     expressed  they don't  want to  share a  dormitory room                                                                    
     with a person who possesses a firearm.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
     The University  is prohibited from creating  a database                                                                    
     or registry of persons  who possess firearms on campus,                                                                    
     requiring  written  permission   before  a  person  may                                                                    
     possess a  firearm on campus, or  adopt implied consent                                                                    
     policies regarding restricted possession on campus.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
     The  University  is  immune from  civil  liability  for                                                                    
     policies enforced under this section.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
     Section 3                                                                                                                
     The bill takes effect August 1, 2016                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
12:21:12 PM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  SPOHNHOLZ asked  whether there  are other  public                                                               
spaces  or  public buildings  where  the  state disallows  public                                                               
carry of firearms.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MR. BYRNES  said the state weapons  misconduct statute stipulates                                                               
five  prohibited  spaces  and  the  only  public  building  where                                                               
firearms are not allowed are court houses.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
12:21:56 PM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE SPOHNHOLZ  questioned whether weapons  are allowed                                                               
in the state Capitol building.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
MR. BYRNES  responded that  adopted policy  bans firearms  in the                                                               
Capitol, but  no law prohibits  the presence of weapons.   Anyone                                                               
found in possession  of a firearm, while in  the Capitol complex,                                                               
is in violation of policy but not law.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE SPOHNHOLZ asked how  firearm storage will occur in                                                               
the residence halls.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MR. BYRNES  answered that the  bill defines metal lock  boxes for                                                               
dormitories, and  all campuses  have centralized  weapons storage                                                               
available.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
12:24:52 PM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON  said having a  weapon in the Capitol  is a                                                               
violation  of policy,  and  asked whether  the  university has  a                                                               
similar policy; which this bill is seeking to override.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MR. BYRNES  responded that  if a  person were  to bring  a weapon                                                               
onto  a campus  it  would be  similar to  bringing  one into  the                                                               
Capitol, and violate an existing policy but not a specific law.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
12:27:49 PM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE DRUMMOND asked what  are the five prohibited areas                                                               
named in the weapons misconduct statute.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MR.  BYRNES answered:  a  bar, any  K-12  institution or  daycare                                                               
facility, domestic  violence shelters,  court houses,  and inside                                                               
another person's home without their express consent.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE DRUMMOND inquired about  bringing a firearm onto a                                                               
military base.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
MR.  BYRNES pointed  out that  all military  bases are  under the                                                               
purview of federal law.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
12:29:09 PM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE SPOHNHOLZ noted the  presence of childcare centers                                                               
that are on most campuses.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MR. BYRNES explained  that the presence of children  on campus is                                                               
similar to  other areas where  children frequent but which  is an                                                               
area  not considered  specific  to the  care  of those  children.                                                               
However, a designated campus daycare  facility would be a firearm                                                               
prohibited area, as specified under statute.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
12:31:47 PM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE   DRUMMOND  asked   about  the   consequences  for                                                               
improper  handling of  a firearm  on  campus, or  for leaving  it                                                               
unattended.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR. BYRNES  said that  the expectation is  for the  university to                                                               
draft policy and regulation for campus protocol.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
12:33:00 PM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  SPOHNHOLZ queried  whether  policy would  include                                                               
provisions  to allow  for  gun-free dormitories  as  a means  for                                                               
catering to students who would prefer that type of arrangement.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MR.  BYRNES explained  that the  students who  desire to  carry a                                                               
firearm  would   register/declare  its  presence   to  university                                                               
officials.   If someone objects  to sharing a space  with someone                                                               
who  maintains  a weapon,  alternate  arrangements  may be  made;                                                               
however, the  privacy of  those who carry  will be  protected and                                                               
may not allow for segregation.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  SPOHNHOLZ expressed  concern  for  a student  not                                                               
necessarily knowing whether their  assigned dormitory roommate is                                                               
in possession of a firearm.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
12:35:39 PM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  SEATON  directed  attention  to the  CS  page  2,                                                               
[lines 9 and] 10, which read as follows:                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
         (c) The Board of Regents may adopt and enforce                                                                         
     policies                                                                                                                   
         (1) regulating the carrying of openly carried                                                                          
     firearms;                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  SEATON asked  for the  intent of  this subsection                                                               
and paragraph and  whether it is meant to  allow concealed versus                                                               
openly carried firearms.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MR. BYRNES  explained that the  university may adopt  and enforce                                                               
policies  regulating the  open  carry of  firearms,  but may  not                                                               
prohibit the action.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
12:36:53 PM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR KELLER opened public testimony.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
12:37:34 PM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MICHAEL HOSTINA, General Council,  University of Alaska Fairbanks                                                               
(UAF), suggested unintended consequences  that may result from SB                                                               
174  including the  governance of  long  guns, as  the bill  only                                                               
appears to address  handguns.  He said thousands  of students and                                                               
staff are on  campus and some may have mental  or other troubling                                                               
issues.   In  those  specific situations,  the  Board of  Regents                                                               
would like  to be able to  regulate firearms.  The  bill requires                                                               
the  university  to  establish storage  areas,  which  may  prove                                                               
costly.    The  state  has imposed  regulation  of  firearms  for                                                               
specific purposes, he noted, and  added that the Board of Regents                                                               
would appreciate being able to review any amendments proposed.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
12:43:55 PM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  VAZQUEZ directed  attention  to the  CS, page  2,                                                               
lines [16]-20, which read as follows:                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
     (3) prohibiting  the possession  of firearms  or knives                                                                    
     in  the restricted  ... in  university-designated rooms                                                                    
     during  adjudication of  staff or  student disciplinary                                                                    
     issues and disputes;                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE VAZQUEZ pointed out  that this language appears to                                                               
address some of Mr. Hostina's concerns.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
12:44:57 PM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
GEORGE PIERCE  stated opposition  to the CS  for SB  174(FIN) and                                                               
said  if guns  aren't allowed  in  the Capitol  why should  young                                                               
people be  allowed to  carry on  campus.  The  bill is  backed by                                                               
members of  the American Legislative  Exchange Council  (ALEC) he                                                               
pointed out, and opined, it's  trying to fix something that isn't                                                               
broken.     The   students  and   faculty  members   have  stated                                                               
opposition,  and   he  suggested   the  members  listen   to  the                                                               
collective voices.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
12:47:35 PM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MIKE  COONS,  stated   support  for  the  CS   for  SB  174(FIN),                                                               
paraphrasing  from a  prepared statement,  which read  as follows                                                               
[original punctuation provided]:                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     I have testified in the  Senate hearings for SB 174 and                                                                    
     have, like the Senators endured  the fear, the flat out                                                                    
     lies  of the  anti-gun talking  points as  well as  the                                                                    
     foreign  students/facility  and Alaskan  facility  that                                                                    
     threaten to  leave if  this passes.   As  Senator Kelly                                                                    
     said to the  later, don't let the door hit  them in the                                                                    
     … on the way out!                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
     What really gets me, is  the audacity that some preface                                                                    
     their testimony that they hunt,  they own guns but they                                                                    
     oppose the  armed citizen on campus  because they don't                                                                    
     trust their fellow  gun owners!  They use  the "I hunt,                                                                    
     or  target shoot"  as a  ruse.   The 2nd  Amendment and                                                                    
     Article  1  section 19  is  not  about hunting,  target                                                                    
     shooting  or  collecting,   it  about  our  fundamental                                                                    
     freedom against   any form  of tyrants, be that  an out                                                                    
     of  control government  or a  criminal bent  on serious                                                                    
     harm or death to me or others.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
     Thus, any  whom call  in with this  ruse, I  am calling                                                                    
     out  as  a flat  out  liar  or  an elitist  like  Rosie                                                                    
     O'Donnell who  thinks only they  can own a  firearm but                                                                    
     not the  rest of  us lowly peasants.   What  they don't                                                                    
     understand, nor will  they admit is that  we whom stand                                                                    
     for our God given rights  as recognized by our founding                                                                    
     fathers, shall prevail!                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
12:49:11 PM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
GREG  STODDARD,  stated  support  for the  CS  for  SB  174(FIN),                                                               
stating that  the Second Amendment  of the U.S.  Constitution and                                                               
Article  1,  Section  19  of the  state  constitution  are  being                                                               
disregarded  by the  universities policy.   He  reported that  he                                                               
works on campus  and was ignored by the Board  of Regents' policy                                                               
makers,  when   he  approached  them  with   questions  regarding                                                               
firearms.  He opined:                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
     No  law or  policy  prevents acts  of  terror by  armed                                                                    
     aggressors.   Current laws  already provide  the avenue                                                                    
     of accountability for those who  would abuse the rights                                                                    
     of  others.   SB 174  provides for  generous regulatory                                                                    
     policy making [in order] to address ... concerns.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
12:51:15 PM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REGINA  HOCK, Professor,  University of  Alaska Fairbanks  (UAF),                                                               
stated  opposition to  the CS  for SB  174(FIN), and  said campus                                                               
firearm regulations  should reflect  other restricted  areas such                                                               
as courtrooms,  K-12 schools, party conventions,  military bases,                                                               
and  the Capitol.   The  university is  a place  of learning  and                                                               
exploring, which  can lead to controversies  and heated exchanges                                                               
as part  of the  learning process.   These  arguments need  to be                                                               
conducted in  a safe  setting to allow  for full  expression, and                                                               
this  bill,  if  passed,  would  remove  that  sense  of  safety.                                                               
Faculty  members  often  cause  major distress  to  students  via                                                               
assignment of  a low grade,  failing a course, or  termination of                                                               
status.  In  a large class it  is not unusual for  students to be                                                               
frustrated  by  the  grades  they  receive,  and  in  some  cases                                                               
psychological and  anger issues  are evident.   Further, students                                                               
may  arrive in  class while  under  the influence  of alcohol  or                                                               
drugs, or in  an angry state of  mind.  She said  she is dismayed                                                               
and scared by  the possibility of such  students bringing weapons                                                               
to her  class or  office; more frightened  than for  the possible                                                               
occurrence of  a rare, mass shooting.   An impulse reaction  by a                                                               
student due to mental issues,  alcohol, and anger is frightening.                                                               
Freedom  of  speech will  be  compromised  if  there is  fear  of                                                               
offending  someone,  and  that fear  will  adversely  affect  the                                                               
climate of  teaching and  learning at the  university.   The vast                                                               
majority  of  faculty,  college  presidents,  Board  of  Regents,                                                               
campus police, unions,  and staff council do not  want this bill.                                                               
She urged the  committee to heed the majority voice  of those who                                                               
will be directly affected, and not pass SB 174.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
12:53:15 PM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
SIMON  FILHOL, Student,  University  of  Alaska Fairbanks  (UAF),                                                               
stated opposition to the CS for  SB 174(FIN), and said the campus                                                               
is  an  open  area  for debate  and  discussion,  where  anyone's                                                               
beliefs  and  values  can  be  expressed  and  challenged,  as  a                                                               
necessary  part  of  the academic  process.    Allowing  firearms                                                               
implies a  hierarchy between those  who carry guns and  those who                                                               
don't;  restricting  some  people's   freedom  to  express  their                                                               
opinion.   He said that, as  a student coming from  out of state,                                                               
his decision  to enroll  would have been  different had  he known                                                               
firearms would be  present in a classroom.  Others  may decide to                                                               
not  attend,  should this  legislation  prevail,  he opined,  and                                                               
urged members not to support SB 174.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
12:54:57 PM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
JEFFREY   BENOWITZ,  University   of   Alaska  Fairbanks   (UAF),                                                               
testified  on  the  CS  for  SB  174(FIN),  paraphrasing  from  a                                                               
prepared statement, and said:                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
     Humans  are really  bad at  risk  assessment.   They're                                                                    
     scared of  sharks, lightening,  and snakes,  where bees                                                                    
     lead to far more death.   Humans are also bad on safety                                                                    
     assessment.   The  UA regents  has banned  marijuana on                                                                    
     campus for safety  reasons.  The UA  regents has banned                                                                    
     tobacco  on  campus for  safety  reasons.   Almost  all                                                                    
     sexual assaults  on campus involve alcohol,  yet the UA                                                                    
     regents  allow  alcohol on  campus.  ...  I suggest  an                                                                    
     amendment to SB  174 that bans the  presence of alcohol                                                                    
     in  campus  buildings  when  guns  are  present.    ...                                                                    
     Excess  drinking and  guns  do not  mix  well.   Please                                                                    
     amend SB  174 so that  it bans the presence  of alcohol                                                                    
     in campus buildings when guns  are present.  University                                                                    
     of  Alaska students  will make  the  right choice  when                                                                    
     given  the  option:   will  choose  firearm  possession                                                                    
     which is a right, over alcohol which is a permission.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
12:56:40 PM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
ROSS MULLINS  stated opposition  to the CS  for SB  174(FIN), and                                                               
said:                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
     I have four children who  have attended college, and if                                                                    
     I had  known of a  legal firearms carry on  any college                                                                    
     campus they  wished to attend,  I would  have prevented                                                                    
     that from  happening.   I think  this bill  is insanity                                                                    
     and  I  don't  think  your   judgement  on  this  is  a                                                                    
     responsible one  if this bill were  to continue through                                                                    
     the   process.     I  think   Senator  Kelly   and  his                                                                    
     ideological  framework is  flawed.   The  constitution,                                                                    
     which ... relegated firearms to  armed militias, is not                                                                    
     being  properly construed.    If you  see  fit to  keep                                                                    
     promoting this bill, I would be very distressed.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
12:58:31 PM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CARL KANCIR stated  support for the CS for SB  174(FIN), and said                                                               
the point of a  concealed weapon is so that no  one knows you are                                                               
carrying.   Thus, a roommate would  not know.  However,  if it is                                                               
required that someone register their  concealed weapon on campus,                                                               
it  changes  the  picture.    He  conjectured  that  a  terrorist                                                               
planning  to shoot-up  the campus  could access  the registration                                                               
information and initially target  anyone with a concealed weapon.                                                               
A nine  shot revolver can  be emptied  in three seconds,  and the                                                               
response time for  campus police is between one  and two minutes.                                                               
In 60-120 seconds, the number of  shots that could be fired would                                                               
put many lives  in jeopardy.  I'm not in  favor of anyone knowing                                                               
whether  someone is  carrying a  concealed  weapon or  not.   The                                                               
chances of  someone responding with a  firearm to a bad  grade or                                                               
due  to a  disagreement is  perhaps  more rare  than a  terrorist                                                               
coming onto campus, he opined.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
1:00:53 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CALLIE CONNERTON,  Student Body  President, University  of Alaska                                                               
Southeast (UAS),  stated opposition  to the  CS for  SB 174(FIN),                                                               
paraphrasing  from a  prepared statement,  which read  as follows                                                               
[original punctuation provided]:                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     I am  a student at  the University of  Alaska Southeast                                                                    
     and serve  as the Student Government  President here in                                                                    
     Juneau  and  as  the  Statewide  Coalition  of  Student                                                                    
     Leaders Vice-Chair.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
     There  are two  big reasons  that I'm  here before  you                                                                    
     opposing  SB 174.   First,  a  campus is  no place  for                                                                    
     guns, and  second, contrary to  what you've  been told,                                                                    
     this  bill   does  have  fiscal  impact   and  Alaska's                                                                    
     students can't  afford it.   Major stakeholders  - from                                                                    
     students,  the   university  president  and   Board  of                                                                    
     Regents to  school faculty - oppose  this dangerous and                                                                    
     expensive legislation.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
     Let me explain why a Campus is no place for guns.                                                                          
     Colleges and universities are  relatively safe from gun                                                                    
     violence - but campus life  has other risk factors that                                                                    
     makes the presence  of guns dangerous.   What are those                                                                    
     risk factors?                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
     -  Alcohol  and  Drugs:    Alcohol  leads  to  impaired                                                                    
     judgment  about whether  to  shoot a  gun,  as well  as                                                                    
     impaired aim  when firing.   And a  Columbia University                                                                    
     study found  that half of  U.S. college  students binge                                                                    
     drink or abuse illegal or prescription drugs.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
     - Suicide:   College students  are at elevated  risk of                                                                    
     firearm suicide:  The firearm  suicide rate of 18 to 21                                                                    
     year-olds  is  nine  times   higher  than  the  firearm                                                                    
     suicide  rate of  people  17 and  under.   And  suicide                                                                    
     attempts with  guns are far more  successful than other                                                                    
     suicide  attempts.    Here  in  Alaska,  we  have  huge                                                                    
     problems with  Seasonal Affective Disorder,  which also                                                                    
     leads to depression in our students.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
     -  Gun  Homicide:    People  age  18-20  represent  4.4                                                                    
     percent  of the  total  U.S. population  but commit  17                                                                    
     percent of all gun homicides.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
     -  Some  students  might  be  responsible  gun  owners,                                                                    
     however, there  are often situations where  they are in                                                                    
     close  proximity  with  students who  don't  know  have                                                                    
     knowledge of responsible gun handling  or think of guns                                                                    
     as a toy.   We don't want students to  have easy access                                                                    
     to a gun if they will not be responsible.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
     - There  is also  no concealed  carried permit  that is                                                                    
     required in this  bill, with would allow  someone to be                                                                    
     able to carry without proper  knowledge as long as they                                                                    
     have not done  anything in the past  warranting them to                                                                    
     no pass a background check.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     My final point is that  students will end up paying for                                                                    
     guns on campus and with  the budget crunch we're under,                                                                    
     it's  irresponsible  to  pass  a bill  that  will  cost                                                                    
     students money.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
     When the gun lobby went to  Idaho and told them to pass                                                                    
     a  guns  on campus  bill  they  said it  wouldn't  cost                                                                    
     anything, but  they were  wrong.   It cost  3.7 million                                                                    
     dollars.  I  have the article right here  and I'm happy                                                                    
     to give you  copies.  Not only did it  cost 3.7 million                                                                    
     dollars  for their  few  colleges  and universities  to                                                                    
     comply, but  it was paid  for on the backs  of students                                                                    
     because the state was in  the middle of a budget crunch                                                                    
     and  they  wouldn't  allocate money  to  the  increased                                                                    
     security  costs.    I  can't afford  to  pay  for  this                                                                    
     legislation and neither can my fellow students.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
     I respectfully ask you to vote no on SB 174.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
1:03:40 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
LORA VESS, PhD, Professor, University  of Alaska Southeast (UAS),                                                               
stated opposition to the CS  for SB 174(FIN), paraphrasing from a                                                               
prepared statement,  which read as follows  [original punctuation                                                               
provided]:                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
     I  am a  resident of  Juneau.  I am  also an  Assistant                                                                    
     Professor  of Sociology  at  the  University of  Alaska                                                                    
     Southeast. I  am a faculty  member strongly  opposed to                                                                    
     Senate Bill  174. I submit  this as a reflection  of my                                                                    
     personal  values  and  experiences  rather  than  as  a                                                                    
     representative of  UAS, but I  know that  many faculty,                                                                    
     staff, and students share this position.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
     First,  this  is  an  unfunded mandate  in  a  time  of                                                                    
     budgetary   shortfalls.   According    to   the   Idaho                                                                    
     Statesman, Idaho  is looking  at an additional  cost of                                                                    
     $3.7  million for  required  metal detectors,  employee                                                                    
     training, and additional staff  for five campuses after                                                                    
     its  campus carry  law went  into  effect. The  Houston                                                                    
     Chronicle reported  that the Texas law  is estimated to                                                                    
     cost  up  to  $47  million   over  six  years  for  the                                                                    
     University of  Houston and University of  Texas systems                                                                    
     to  update security,  build  gun  lockers, and  prepare                                                                    
     campus police.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
     On a  personal level,  I am  not anti-gun  ownership or                                                                    
     use.  I  grew up  in  a  small Virginia  community  and                                                                    
     recognize  their value  for hunting  and protection.  I                                                                    
     attended Virginia  Tech for my undergraduate  degree. I                                                                    
     had friends  and former professors  who were  on campus                                                                    
     the day of the shootings  and I worried anxiously until                                                                    
     news of  their safety  emerged. I  was also  a resident                                                                    
     advisor while at  Virginia Tech and I  lived and worked                                                                    
     in West Ambler Johnston, in  the actual dorm room where                                                                    
     two  people  were  killed. I  have  also  been  mugged,                                                                    
     unarmed, at  gunpoint. However, even in  light of these                                                                    
     experiences,  I strongly  believe that  institutions of                                                                    
     higher  education are  not the  appropriate setting  to                                                                    
     wage a battle over rights  to possess firearms. Many of                                                                    
     my  students   are  struggling  to  find   their  adult                                                                    
     identity and  develop a  sense of  self. This  does not                                                                    
     need to  be complicated  by adding  another potentially                                                                    
     explosive   variable   into   their   transition   from                                                                    
     adolescence to adulthood.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
     As a  professor, I  care deeply  about my  students and                                                                    
     creating  and protecting  a safe  learning environment.                                                                    
     On  the  best  of  days  on  campus,  my  students  are                                                                    
     engaged, invigorated, and a joy  to be around. However,                                                                    
     they don't always  have the best of days.  Some of them                                                                    
     are  coping  with  depression, anxiety,  and  drug  and                                                                    
     alcohol  problems. The  National  Institute of  Alcohol                                                                    
     Abuse  and Alcoholism  reports that  about 4  out of  5                                                                    
     college  students drink  alcohol,  with  about half  of                                                                    
     those   engaging  in   binge  drinking.   On  Thursday,                                                                    
     February  18th, I  provided oral  testimony during  the                                                                    
     Senate   Education   Committee    public   hearing   in                                                                    
     opposition  to Senate  Bill  174.  Almost every  person                                                                    
     providing  testimony in  opposition  to SB  174 at  the                                                                    
     hearing referenced  their grave concerns  regarding the                                                                    
     emotional  and  mental  health  of  Alaskan  university                                                                    
     students  and the  correlated  increase  in risks  were                                                                    
     firearms  to become  more readily  accessible. Some  of                                                                    
     those supporting  the bill  expressed the  opinion that                                                                    
     college students  are adults  and should be  treated as                                                                    
     such.  However, the  brains  of  adolescents are  still                                                                    
     developing (and continue to do  so through one's early-                                                                    
     to-mid-twenties). Many adolescents  and young adults do                                                                    
     not  have  the  emotional  maturity  and  psychological                                                                    
     development   needed  for   responsible  firearm   use,                                                                    
     especially in high-density  settings. Young adults have                                                                    
     high rates  of depression  and anxiety.  Certain mental                                                                    
     health  problems -  such as  schizophrenia or  bi-polar                                                                    
     disorder  -  have  early  adult-onset  and  may  emerge                                                                    
     during the  college years. As you  are certainly aware,                                                                    
     Alaska  suicide  rates are  among  the  highest in  the                                                                    
     nation  with suicide  as the  second  leading cause  of                                                                    
     death  for U.S.  college  students.  Greater access  to                                                                    
     firearms will  likely increase that rate  and certainly                                                                    
     not diminish it.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
     At the hearing, several  citizens and committee members                                                                    
     expressed  concern about  sexual  assault  and rape  on                                                                    
     campus. The Committee is right  to be concerned: 1 in 5                                                                    
     women (and  1 in  16 men) are  targets of  attempted or                                                                    
     completed  sexual   assault  while  they   are  college                                                                    
     students. However,  the vast  majority of  assaults are                                                                    
     not taking place  in dark corridors or  in parking lots                                                                    
     leaving night  class. In 90 percent  of reported cases,                                                                    
     the  victim  knew her  or  his  attacker. Moreover,  89                                                                    
     percent  of   assaults  occur  when  the   survivor  is                                                                    
     incapacitated  due  to  alcohol.   We  have  a  serious                                                                    
     problem  with  sexual   assault  and  intimate  partner                                                                    
     violence in Alaska, but our  solutions lie with greater                                                                    
     education,   respect   for  women,   and   preventative                                                                    
     measures. Arming women on campus  will not protect them                                                                    
     from  sexual violence,  especially when  it is  equally                                                                    
     likely that their assailants may be armed.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
     My concern  is that the legislative  response with this                                                                    
     bill is not reflective  of any systematic understanding                                                                    
     of  the  roots  of  violence  on  university  campuses.                                                                    
     Instead,   I   am   concerned   that   this   bill   is                                                                    
     ideologically  driven with  a narrow  conceptualization                                                                    
     of  freedom and  liberty  that has  nothing  to do  the                                                                    
     operations and  needs of  Alaska's universities,  or of                                                                    
     the  safety  of  the thousands  of  students,  faculty,                                                                    
     staff,  visitors,   and  minors  who  are   on  Alaskan                                                                    
     campuses on any given day.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
     Supporters  create  hypothetical   scenarios  where  an                                                                    
     armed vigilante  emerges as victorious  in the  face of                                                                    
     danger,  but  they  refuse  to  consider  non-storybook                                                                    
     endings  to that  fictional  scenario.  Even for  those                                                                    
     experienced gun  owners, what  experience do  they have                                                                    
     with  mental illness,  what knowledge  do they  have of                                                                    
     campus security or the  university of environment, what                                                                    
     skill  do  they  have  in  aiming for  a  gunmen  in  a                                                                    
     classroom  of  chaos  or cafeteria  full  of  visiting,                                                                    
     confused, and screaming school  children? How will they                                                                    
     respond  to  partiers  fueled with  alcohol  acting  in                                                                    
     unpredictable ways  with their  own guns in  hand? This                                                                    
     bill presumes  that those with concealed  carry permits                                                                    
     are  trained and  psychologically  able  to respond  to                                                                    
     active shooters  in a calm,  safe manner. If  an active                                                                    
     shooter situation arises on campus,  I trust the police                                                                    
     to  respond to  the situation.  I am  greatly concerned                                                                    
     that  with  more  firearms   on  campus,  injuries  and                                                                    
     causality  rates  could  quickly escalate  as  innocent                                                                    
     people are caught in the crossfire.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
     This  bill  introduces  unknown dangers  to  university                                                                    
     staff and faculty (risks, I  might add that legislators                                                                    
     are   protected  from).   Professors  regularly   teach                                                                    
     difficult and sensitive topics  that some students find                                                                    
     challenging and  are not  always able  to process  in a                                                                    
     calm manner. It  is the job of a  professor to evaluate                                                                    
     students  and   this  places   them  in   a  vulnerable                                                                    
     position.  I cannot  think of  a  day where  I did  not                                                                    
     cover a sensitive or controversial  topic in the class.                                                                    
     As a sociologist, I teach  about and encourage critical                                                                    
     thinking  related to  human  behavior  and society.  In                                                                    
     this role,  my students  learn about  sexual harassment                                                                    
     and   violence.   In   my   classrooms,   I   regularly                                                                    
     "discipline"  my students  for a  range of  activities-                                                                    
     from talking  while others are  speaking to  playing on                                                                    
     their phones.  While I  am not  a therapist,  I counsel                                                                    
     students  on  practical   educational  advice  such  as                                                                    
     developing good  study habits and applying  to graduate                                                                    
     school applications-to  more personal matters,  such as                                                                    
     coping with loss or experiences with sexism.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
     Certain  members  of  the legislature  seems  to  think                                                                    
     there is  no reason  that universities should  have the                                                                    
     right to restrict or deny  concealed carry on campuses.                                                                    
     I  find  that  absolutely  baffling  given  the  unique                                                                    
     cultural and  educational climate  of the UA  system as                                                                    
     described in the breadth of  testimony from those of us                                                                    
     who work, teach, learn, and  visit University of Alaska                                                                    
     campuses on a regular basis.                                                                                               
     I strongly urge the legislature to reject SB 174.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
1:06:09 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
ARLENE RONDA  stated opposition  to the CS  for SB  174(FIN), and                                                               
stressed  the importance  for the  committee to  vote no  on this                                                               
bill.   The trained  security personnel should  be the  only ones                                                               
authorized to have guns on campus, she opined.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
1:06:51 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
BRIAN  JUDY, Liaison,  National Rifle  Association (NRA),  stated                                                               
support for  the CS for SB  174(FIN), and said self-defense  is a                                                               
fundamental right.  The bill  will erase the arbitrary lines that                                                               
currently  prohibit  a person  from  choosing  a means  of  self-                                                               
protection, and end gun-free zones on Alaska's campuses.  Gun-                                                                  
free school zones  have proven to be a public  policy failure, if                                                               
not a public policy disaster, he  opined.  Mass killings occur in                                                               
designated  gun-free  zones,  which  are only  respected  by  law                                                               
abiding citizens.   A  gun-free zone creates  an area  where only                                                               
the  potential  victims are  gun-free.    Eight states  currently                                                               
allow guns as a means  of self-protection on college campuses and                                                               
the  catastrophic predictions  have not  come to  fruition.   The                                                               
concern  for  concealed guns  is  an  irrational fear  that  some                                                               
people  hold, and  they would  like  to suppress  the ability  of                                                               
others  to  make  the  choice  to carry  a  firearm.    The  bill                                                               
restricts open carry, and the age  in Alaska to carry a concealed                                                               
firearm is  21.  Thus, the  dorm issue is irrelevant  as few over                                                               
the age of 21 live in  dormitories.  The bill also restricts guns                                                               
from specific campus areas of  concern, as previously cited.  The                                                               
financial issues  are overblown, he  opined, and denied  that the                                                               
students in  Idaho footed the  bill.  Finally, he  said, consider                                                               
the financial impact  if a tragedy were to occur  on a UA campus.                                                               
After the  [Virginia Polytechnic Institute and  State University,                                                               
Blacksburg, Virginia;  shooting on  April 16, 2007]  tragedy, the                                                               
university was  found liable  and ordered to  pay $11  million in                                                               
victim restitution.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
1:11:14 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
RUSSELL KELL testified on the CS  for SB 174(FIN), noting that no                                                               
law prohibits the carrying of  concealed handguns at UA, however,                                                               
the campus policy imposes that  restriction; a lesson to students                                                               
that it's  alright to ignore  constitutional rights.   People may                                                               
not  feel safe,  but  the question  is whether  or  not they  are                                                               
actually  safe,  he  opined.    Finally,  he  suggested  that  UA                                                               
admissions could provide more scrutiny of who is being admitted.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
1:12:42 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR KELLER closed public testimony.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
1:12:53 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE SPOHNHOLZ asked what impact  the law might have on                                                               
the university risk management insurance rates.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MR. JUDY deferred.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
1:14:54 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  SEATON  cited  his  longtime  membership  in  the                                                               
National Rifle Association (NRA), as  well as being a legislative                                                               
yes  vote  on the  statute  enacting  concealed carry  without  a                                                               
permit.   However, he  opined, the Board  of Regents'  ability to                                                               
set  campus policy  should be  respected, and  said he  could not                                                               
support the bill.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
1:15:50 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE VAZQUEZ moved to report  the committee (CS) for SB                                                               
174(FIN), Version  29-LS1306\G, out of committee  with individual                                                               
recommendations and the accompanying fiscal notes.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
1:16:19 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  DRUMMOND  objected   for  discussion,  and  asked                                                               
whether the fiscal note would require adoption.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR KELLER said  the fiscal note will be  attached with passage                                                               
of the bill.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
1:17:33 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON noted that  the university requested a bill                                                               
version that  would require the  issuance of permits  to students                                                               
carrying  firearms  on  campus, which  would  insure  appropriate                                                               
training was in place, and make this legislation supportable.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
1:18:40 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE DRUMMOND maintained her objection.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
1:18:50 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR KELLER  called for a  vote, but upon determining  there was                                                               
further committee comment, ruled the vote as void.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE SPOHNHOLZ  expressed an  inability to vote  yea or                                                               
nay,  due to  the lack  of a  response to  her previously  stated                                                               
question, which could represent a determining factor.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR KELLER called for a vote.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
1:19:55 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
A roll  call vote was  taken.  Representatives  Keller, Talerico,                                                               
Vazquez and  Colver voted  in favor  of reporting  the CS  for SB                                                               
174(FIN) from  committee.  Representatives Seaton,  Drummond, and                                                               
Spohnholz  voted  against  it.    Therefore,  CSSB  174(FIN)  was                                                               
reported out of the House  Education Standing Committee by a vote                                                               
of 4-3.                                                                                                                         

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
1-SB174 Sponsor Statement.pdf HEDC 4/11/2016 8:00:00 AM
SB 174
2-CSSB 174(FIN) version G.PDF HEDC 4/11/2016 8:00:00 AM
SB 174
3-SB174 Sectional Analysis ver G.pdf HEDC 4/11/2016 8:00:00 AM
SB 174
4-CSSB 174 (EDC) version N.PDF HEDC 4/11/2016 8:00:00 AM
SB 174
5-SB174 Summary of Changes versions N to G.pdf HEDC 4/11/2016 8:00:00 AM
SB 174
6-SB 174 Version H (original).PDF HEDC 4/11/2016 8:00:00 AM
SB 174
7-SB174 Fiscal Note-SFIN-UA-4-04-16-Reg Firearms.pdf HEDC 4/11/2016 8:00:00 AM
SB 174
8-SB174 LAA Legal Memo - Immunity from civil liability (Feb. 17, 2016).pdf HEDC 4/11/2016 8:00:00 AM
SB 174
Firearms-Analysis.pdf HEDC 4/11/2016 8:00:00 AM
SB 174
SB 174 memo UA 2016.04.07 to House Education MPH MC signed.pdf HEDC 4/11/2016 8:00:00 AM
SB 174
SB174 Firearm rights at UA.msg HEDC 4/11/2016 8:00:00 AM
SB 174
SB174 Letters of Opposition.pdf HEDC 4/11/2016 8:00:00 AM
SB 174
SB174 Letters of Support.pdf HEDC 4/11/2016 8:00:00 AM
SB 174
SB174 Supporting Docs. 2015 UA in Review Table 1.05 Headcount by Age and Academic Organization.pdf HEDC 4/11/2016 8:00:00 AM
SB 174
SB174 Supporting Docs. Alaska Constitution Article I, Section 19.PDF HEDC 4/11/2016 8:00:00 AM
SB 174
SB174 Supporting Docs. Alaska Department of Public Safety - Concealed Weapons Information.pdf HEDC 4/11/2016 8:00:00 AM
SB 174
SB174 Supporting Docs. Alaska Department of Public Safety - Firearm ownership and possession information.pdf HEDC 4/11/2016 8:00:00 AM
SB 174
SB174 Supporting Docs. Alaska Statutes 29.35.145 Municipal Regulation of Firearms and Knives.pdf HEDC 4/11/2016 8:00:00 AM
SB 174
SB174 Supporting Docs. NCSL Guns on Campus Overview (February 12, 2016).pdf HEDC 4/11/2016 8:00:00 AM
SB 174
SB174 UA Resolution 3-25-2016.pdf HEDC 4/11/2016 8:00:00 AM
SB 174
SB174 UA Board of Regents Concealed Carry Position Paper (Feb. 12, 2016).pdf HEDC 4/11/2016 8:00:00 AM
SB 174
SB174 Supporting Docs. UAF, UAS, UAA Campus Crime Statistics.pdf HEDC 4/11/2016 8:00:00 AM
SB 174
SB174 Supporting Docs. News Articles.pdf HEDC 4/11/2016 8:00:00 AM
SB 174
SB174 Supporting Docs. University of Alaska Regent's Policy 02.09 Public Safety.pdf HEDC 4/11/2016 8:00:00 AM
SB 174
SB174 UA General Counsel Memo - Immunity Provision (Feb. 23, 2016).pdf HEDC 4/11/2016 8:00:00 AM
SB 174
SB174 Support Documents Scanned.PDF HEDC 4/11/2016 8:00:00 AM
SB 174
SB174 Opposing Documents Scanned.PDF HEDC 4/11/2016 8:00:00 AM
SB 174