Legislature(2007 - 2008)CAPITOL 120

04/13/2007 01:00 PM JUDICIARY


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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
+= HB 164 OCEAN RANGERS & REPORTING VESSEL LOCATION TELECONFERENCED
<Bill Hearing Canceled>
*+ HB 225 POSSESSION OF WEAPON WHILE ON BAIL TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
+ HB 220 BAN COMPUTER-ASSISTED REMOTE HUNTING TELECONFERENCED
Moved CSHB 220(JUD) Out of Committee
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
+= HB 14 RESTRICT ACCESS TO ALCOHOL TELECONFERENCED
Moved CSHB 14(JUD) Out of Committee
<Bill Hearing Rescheduled from 04/11/07>
+= HB 90 BAIL TELECONFERENCED
Moved CSHB 90(JUD) Out of Committee
HB 225 - POSSESSION OF WEAPON WHILE ON BAIL                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
1:08:49 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR RAMRAS announced that the  first order of business would be                                                               
HOUSE  BILL NO.  225, "An  Act relating  to misconduct  involving                                                               
weapons and bail."                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  LYNN  moved  to   adopt  the  proposed  committee                                                               
substitute  (CS)  for  HB 225,  Version  25-LS0710\M,  Luckhaupt,                                                               
4/11/07, as the work draft.   There being no objection, Version M                                                               
was before the committee.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
1:09:42 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE CRAIG JOHNSON,  Alaska State Legislature, sponsor,                                                               
relayed that under Version M of HB  225, it would be a felony for                                                               
a  person to  possess  a  concealed firearm  while  he/she is  on                                                               
release, before  or after trial,  for the commission of  a felony                                                               
under AS  11, a crime  against a person  under AS 11.41,  a crime                                                               
involving domestic  violence (DV),  or a municipal  crime similar                                                               
to the latter two crimes;  currently such behavior merely results                                                               
in the person having his/her  release revoked.  He mentioned that                                                               
HB  225 is  endorsed  by  most law  enforcement  agencies in  the                                                               
state.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  RAMRAS  asked  why  the   bill  only  addresses  concealed                                                               
weapons.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE JOHNSON indicated that he  didn't want the bill to                                                               
apply  in instances  where the  person on  release is  merely out                                                               
hunting.    The  bill  is  meant  to  address  instances  wherein                                                               
individuals  on release  for gang-related  crimes commit  further                                                               
gang-related crimes involving concealed  weapons.  In response to                                                               
a question,  he relayed that  he has  not yet heard  the National                                                               
Rifle Association's (NRA) position on this legislation.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE   GRUENBERG  questioned   whether  Section   3  of                                                               
Version M contains a typo.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
1:16:35 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
GERALD   LUCKHAUPT,   Attorney,    Legislative   Legal   Counsel,                                                               
Legislative  Legal  and  Research Services,  Legislative  Affairs                                                               
Agency  (LAA), explained  that it  does not  contain a  typo, but                                                               
rather was  written to include  all felonies  under AS 11  - even                                                               
those not committed  against a person - and all  crimes against a                                                               
person  under AS  11.41 -  whether felony  crimes or  misdemeanor                                                               
crimes.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
1:17:49 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  COGHILL   questioned  whether,  in   applying  to                                                               
someone who has  not yet been convicted of a  crime, HB 225 would                                                               
infringe upon a person's constitutional rights.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
JEANNE  OSTNES, Staff  to  Representative  Craig Johnson,  Alaska                                                               
State Legislature, sponsor, offered,  on behalf of Representative                                                               
Johnson, her  understanding that a  person would be  charged with                                                               
the crime created by  HB 225 even if later he/she  is found to be                                                               
innocent of  the original crime  he/she was charged with  and was                                                               
on release for.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  COGHILL urged  caution  in  linking the  proposed                                                               
felony  crime with  the mere  charge of  a crime,  particularly a                                                               
misdemeanor crime.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
1:20:25 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
GARDNER  COBB,   Captain,  Anchorage  Police   Department  (APD),                                                               
Municipality of  Anchorage (MOA),  relayed that the  APD supports                                                               
HB 225.   It is common  knowledge, he remarked, that  the gun per                                                               
capita ratio in Alaska is high,  though most of those guns are in                                                               
the hands of law-abiding citizens;  however, with the recent rise                                                               
in  violent crimes  across the  country  and the  surge in  youth                                                               
violence -  including the scourge  of gang motivated crimes  - in                                                               
Anchorage  and  other  parts  of  the state,  it  is  clear  that                                                               
resources should be  focused in order to bring down  the level of                                                               
violence,  and  the  APD  believes  that  HB  225  can  help  law                                                               
enforcement in this regard.  He  then recounted some of the steps                                                               
the  APD  has  taken  in  dealing  with  gang-related  and  gang-                                                               
motivated  crimes, and  mentioned that  since September  of 2005,                                                               
the APD has seized 74 guns that were out on the street.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MR. COBB  then referred to  a recent,  high-profile, gang-related                                                               
case wherein  in one of the  defendants was released on  bail and                                                               
was later found  in possession of a  stolen semiautomatic pistol.                                                               
He  mentioned that  because long  guns  are being  used in  gang-                                                               
related case  and DV cases,  the APD would  like to see  the bill                                                               
broadened to include all weapons  even those found in a subject's                                                               
vehicle.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MR.  COBB,  offering that  the  APD  views  HB 225  as  important                                                               
legislation,  noted that  AS 12.30.023(a)(11)(A)  says the  court                                                               
can order the defendant not to  have a firearm in the defendant's                                                               
possession or  control, in any  vehicle over which  the defendant                                                               
has control, or in the  defendant's residence.  He suggested that                                                               
including such language  in HB 225 would be  helpful because once                                                               
a suspect  in a vehicle  is stopped and is  asked to step  out of                                                               
the vehicle, he/she simply hides his/her weapons in the vehicle.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG   noted  that   AS  12.30.023(a)(11)(B)                                                               
stipulates that  the court  can also order  the defendant  to not                                                               
carry a knife other than an  ordinary pocket knife, and asked Mr.                                                               
Cobb whether  he would like to  see such a provision  included in                                                               
HB 225.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MR. COBB  said, "I  would like to  see a person  out on  bail for                                                               
violent crimes  and DV be  restricted from any  dangerous weapons                                                               
within their immediate control."                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
1:28:05 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
WALT MONEGAN,  Commissioner, Department  of Public  Safety (DPS),                                                               
added that  the DPS  is happy  with the  current language  in the                                                               
bill.    Regarding the  concern  that  the  bill would  apply  to                                                               
someone  who is  charged but  not yet  convicted, he  pointed out                                                               
that  the  person would  also  only  be  charged with  the  crime                                                               
provided  for in  HB  225,  and thus  there  would  still be  due                                                               
process afforded for both charges.   House Bill 225, he remarked,                                                               
will give law enforcement the  ability to act in situations where                                                               
a  suspect  released  on  bail  is  found  carrying  a  concealed                                                               
firearm.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
1:29:46 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
ANNE  CARPENETI,  Assistant   Attorney  General,  Legal  Services                                                               
Section-Juneau, Criminal  Division, Department  of Law  (DOL), in                                                               
response  to the  constitutional  issue  raised earlier,  relayed                                                               
that  there are  two  reasons  why HB  225  would  not violate  a                                                               
person's constitutional  right to keep  and bear arms:   the bill                                                               
is limited to a  person who is released on bail  - thus there has                                                               
been  a   probable  cause  determination  that   the  person  has                                                               
committed a crime involving either  violent or felonious behavior                                                               
- and  it's limited to  the carrying of  a concealed weapon.   In                                                               
response  to  comments and  questions,  she  noted that  probable                                                               
cause  is the  standard that's  used for  all charges;  that some                                                               
property crimes  can involve threats  of violence; that  the bill                                                               
would apply in instances involving  fourth degree assault because                                                               
in such  instances the victim  could be  placed in fear  of being                                                               
assaulted.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  COGHILL suggested  that  the bill  be amended  to                                                               
specify that it applies to higher-level crimes.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR RAMRAS relayed that HB 225 [Version M] would be held over.                                                                
                                                                                                                                

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