Legislature(1997 - 1998)
05/07/1997 08:15 AM FIN
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
SENATE BILL NO. 141 "An Act relating to permits to carry concealed handguns; and relating to the possession of firearms." Co-Chair Therriault noted that Amendments 1 - 6 were provided to the Committee on 5/6/97. Amendment 1 was adopted on 5/6/97. Representative Davies deleted lines 9 - 14 from Amendment 2. He MOVED to adopt Amendment 2 as amended (copy on file). Co-Chair Therriault OBJECTED. Representative Davies explained that the amendment would prohibit concealed weapons on school buses and in domestic violence facilities. 6 Representative Davies WITHDREW Amendment 2. Representative Davies MOVED to adopt Amendment 7 (copy on file). Co-Chair Therriault OBJECTED. Representative Davies explained that the amendment would prohibit all weapons from domestic violence facilities. He emphasized that the threat of violence, in shelters, is high due to the emotional situations in which victims are involved. He observed that shelters support the amendment. Representative Martin spoke in opposition to Amendment 7. He suggested that women in shelters should be able to defend themselves. Representative Kohring stressed that individual shelters should be given a choice. Representative Grussendorf pointed out that the amendment was brought forward by the shelters. Representative Davies stressed that it is better to teach men not to be violent than to teach women to defend themselves against violent men. JAYNE ANDREEN, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, COUNCIL ON DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AND SEXUAL ASSAULT testified in support of Amendment 7. She emphasized that shelters should be safe havens for victims of domestic violence. She pointed out that there are children in the shelters. She cautioned that children could be harmed if victims began shooting back at perpetrators. She asserted that law enforcement agencies should handle violent situations. She stressed that shelters have good "lock down" procedures to protect victims. Mr. Babcock disagreed that support for Amendment 7 is universal. He indicated that not all the shelters have vocalized their support. He maintained that the amendment should be contained in separate legislation. He emphasized that shelters can post signs prohibiting weapons. A roll call vote was taken on the MOTION to adopt Amendment 7. IN FAVOR: Davies, Grussendorf, Moses, Therriault OPPOSED: Mulder, Foster, Kohring, Martin Co-Chair Hanley and Representatives Davis, and Kelly were absent from the vote. The MOTION FAILED (4-4). Representative Davies MOVED to adopt Amendment 2. Co-Chair 7 Therriault OBJECTED. Representative Davies explained that the amendment would prohibit concealed weapons from a residence, unless the permittee first obtained permission of an adult residing there to bring the handgun into the residence. In response to a question by Representative Martin, Co-Chair Therriault clarified that the amendment only pertains to concealed handguns. Mr. Babcock noted that section 16 (a)(5) would add new language into statute. This subsection would prohibit a concealed weapon from an office of the State, federal government or a political subdivision of the State. He stated that the focus of the legislation is to allow a concealed weapon permittee to go any where that they could go with an open hand gun. Mr. Babcock maintained that additional statutory authority is unnecessary to restrict concealed weapons in correctional facilities. He asserted that law enforcement agencies can restrict open carry in their facilities without Amendment 2. He maintained that AS 11.61.210 (a)(7) already prohibits possession of firearms within school buildings or grounds, a school parking lot, or while participating in a school sponsored event. He asserted that there will never be a case when a school bus will not be used for a school sponsored event or to go to the school parking lot. He concluded that concealed weapons are prohibited on school buses, under existing state law, without written permission of the administrator of the school or school district. He added that the federal government already bans possession of fire arms in federal buildings. He noted that any state agency or political subdivision has the power to prohibit firearms in their facilities by posting a notice. He stated that anyone violating a trespass notice, for concealed weapons, is subject to the same penalty as proposed by the amendment. Representative Davies did not think that the daily transportation of students on school buses would be considered a school sponsored event. DEAN GUANELI, CHIEF ASSISTANT ATTORNEY, DEPARTMENT OF LAW disagreed with comments by Mr. Babcock. He emphasized that, in order to convict under criminal law, prosecutors have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that a law was violated. He stressed that any uncertainty in the interpretation will be construed against the State, in favor of the defendant. He stressed that, if school buses are to be protected, specific language should be added into statute. 8 Co-Chair Therriault expressed concern that the amendment could pertain to any school bus. Mr. Guaneli emphasized that a "school bus" would be a bus used to transport students in a school sponsored activity. He did not think that the prohibition would pertain to school buses that are rented in the summer for other purposes. Mr. Babcock stressed that AS 11.61.210 (a)(7) also prohibits possession of firearms on a school parking lot. He reiterated that the amendment is unnecessary. Representative Martin pointed out that students are transported by boat and airplanes. Representative Davies clarified that it was not his intention to expand the prohibition to include transportation of students by boat or plane. Representative Kohring spoke in opposition to the amendment. He asserted that the amendment would add unnecessary provisions. Representative Davies MOVED to divide Amendment 2. Representative Kohring OBJECTED. A roll call vote was taken on the MOTION to divide Amendment 2. IN FAVOR: Davies, Grussendorf, Moses OPPOSED: Davis, Foster, Kohring, Martin, Therriault The MOTION FAILED (3-6). Co-Chair Hanley and Representatives Kelly and Mulder were absent from the vote. A roll call vote was taken on the MOTION to adopt Amendment 2. IN FAVOR: Davies, Grussendorf, Moses OPPOSED: Davis, Foster, Kohring, Martin, Therriault Co-Chair Hanley and Representatives Kelly and Mulder were absent from the vote. The MOTION FAILED (3-6). SB 141 was HELD in Committee for further consideration.