Legislature(1997 - 1998)

05/07/1997 08:15 AM FIN

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
txt
  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.                      

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