Legislature(2009 - 2010)CAPITOL 120

02/16/2009 01:00 PM JUDICIARY


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01:03:53 PM Start
01:04:02 PM HJR17
01:33:00 PM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
*+ HJR 17 OPPOSE H.R. 45 IN CONGRESS TELECONFERENCED
Moved CSHJR 17(JUD) Out of Committee
HJR 17 - OPPOSE H.R. 45 IN CONGRESS                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
1:04:02 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR RAMRAS announced  that the only order of  business would be                                                               
HOUSE JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 17,  Urging the United States Congress                                                               
to reject H.R. 45, the  Blair Holt's Firearm Licensing and Record                                                               
of Sale Act of 2009.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
1:05:04 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE JOHN  HARRIS, Alaska State Legislature,  said that                                                               
HJR  17 simply  says to  the federal  government that  the Alaska                                                               
State  Legislature   doesn't  want  the  federal   government  to                                                               
infringe upon  the rights of  Americans to bear arms,  adding his                                                               
belief that  the federal  legislation currently  before Congress,                                                               
H.R. 45, does  just that.  Specifically, HJR 17  asks Congress to                                                               
reject H.R.  45.   He characterized  the "WHEREAS"  statements in                                                               
HJR  17 as  self-explanatory, and  said he  supports [what  later                                                               
become known as proposed Amendment 1].                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GATTO  referred  to  the  fact  that  the  Second                                                               
Amendment says  in part,  "the right  of the  people to  keep and                                                               
bear   Arms,  shall   not  be   infringed",  and   asked  whether                                                               
instituting  licensing requirements  such  as  those proposed  by                                                               
H.R. 45 could be construed [by  the courts] to be an infringement                                                               
and thus be ruled unconstitutional.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  HARRIS acknowledged  that  that's a  possibility,                                                               
but expressed his  hope that H.R. 45 won't progress  to the point                                                               
where  the  U.S.   Supreme  Court  must  address   the  issue  of                                                               
constitutionality.   He characterized H.R.  45 as  simply another                                                               
attack on the people's right to bear arms.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE   GATTO  asked   whether  those   who  confiscated                                                               
firearms  during  the  aftermath  of Hurricane  Katrina  were  in                                                               
violation  of the  U.S. Constitution,  and, if  so, whether  they                                                               
should have been subject to a penalty for doing so.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HARRIS  offered his  belief that such  people were                                                               
acting in violation of the U.S. Constitution.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
1:09:55 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
TAMMI WILSON  indicated that  she is  glad that  HJR 17  has been                                                               
introduced, and  expressed her  hope that HJR  17 will  be passed                                                               
out of committee.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
1:10:30 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
BRENT RICHEY  referred to the  provision in  HJR 17 that  read in                                                               
part,  "WHEREAS  the  Second  Amendment   to  the  United  States                                                             
Constitution enunciates a citizen's right  to keep and bear arms,                                                               
stating that  that right  shall not  be infringed",  and remarked                                                               
that  it is  a  sad state  of affairs  when  state citizens  must                                                               
remind  the federal  government  to abide  by its  own  law.   He                                                               
characterized  the  wording of  the  Second  Amendment as  pretty                                                               
clear, and surmised that most  citizens can understand it as well                                                               
as the aforementioned  provision of HJR 17.   He recommended that                                                               
the committee pass HJR 17.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  RAMRAS  noted  that  in  addition  to  other  legislators,                                                               
Representatives Coghill  and Lynn, as  well as he,  himself, have                                                               
signed on as co-sponsors of HJR 17.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
1:12:06 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MIKE PRAX  opined that  it is unfortunate  that the  Alaska State                                                               
Legislature must take  time out if its schedule to  keep track of                                                               
the  federal   government,  which,  he  opined,   seems  to  have                                                               
forgotten  its limited  role under  the U.S.  Constitution.   All                                                               
state legislatures,  in representing their citizens,  need to pay                                                               
attention to what  the federal government is  doing, he remarked,                                                               
and  offered his  hope that  HJR 17  will pass  out of  committee                                                               
expeditiously.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
1:13:07 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SCOTT HAMANN  said he is happy  that HJR 17 is  being considered,                                                               
surmising that  it will pass.   He added,  "We are just  sick and                                                               
tired of the  stuff that continually comes at  us from Washington                                                               
D.C."                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
1:13:55 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
STEVE  CATALANO  said he  is  in  full  support  of HJR  17,  and                                                               
expressed  a desire  that Congress  be  reminded that  he is  not                                                               
alone in the idea that he should  have the right to keep and bear                                                               
arms and that that right should not be infringed upon.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
1:16:06 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  COGHILL  made  a  motion to  adopt  Amendment  1,                                                               
labeled 26-LS0555\A.1, Luckhaupt, 2/16/09, which read:                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
     Page 1, following line 5:                                                                                                  
     Insert new material to read:                                                                                               
          "WHEREAS art. I, sec. 19, Constitution of the                                                                       
     State of Alaska, provides that  the right of the people                                                                    
     to  keep  and bear  arms  shall  not be  infringed  and                                                                    
     further states  that the individual  right to  keep and                                                                    
     bear arms shall not be denied or infringed; and"                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR RAMRAS objected for the purpose of discussion.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE   COGHILL,   noting    that   the   Alaska   State                                                               
Constitution additionally  protects the individual right  to keep                                                               
and bear  arms, said he thinks  it's important to add  that point                                                               
to the message being sent to Congress via HJR 17.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR RAMRAS withdrew his objection,  and, noting that there were                                                               
no further objections, announced that Amendment 1 was adopted.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
1:18:09 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG made  a motion to adopt  Amendment 2, to                                                               
delete the language on page 2, lines 3-5, which read:                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
     WHEREAS  H.R.  45  directs   the  attorney  general  to                                                                  
     establish  and maintain  a  firearm injury  information                                                                    
     clearinghouse,  to conduct  studies of  firearm-related                                                                    
     deaths  and  injuries,  and  to  collect  and  maintain                                                                    
     production  and   sales  data  from   licensed  firearm                                                                    
     manufactures; and                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE COGHILL objected.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG indicated  that the  inclusion of  that                                                               
clause in HJR  17 essentially disapproves of Title V  of H.R. 45;                                                               
Title V read:                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
     TITLE V--FIREARM INJURY INFORMATION AND RESEARCH                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
     SEC. 501. DUTIES OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                              
     (a) In General- The Attorney General shall--                                                                             
          (1) establish and maintain a firearm injury                                                                         
     information  clearinghouse   to  collect,  investigate,                                                                  
     analyze, and disseminate  data and information relating                                                                  
     to  the  causes  and  prevention of  death  and  injury                                                                  
     associated with firearms;                                                                                                
          (2) conduct continuing studies and investigations                                                                   
     of firearm-related deaths and injuries; and                                                                              
          (3) collect and maintain current production and                                                                     
     sales figures for each licensed manufacturer.                                                                            
                                                                                                                              
     (b) Availability of  Information- Periodically, but not                                                                  
     less  frequently than  annually,  the Attorney  General                                                                  
     shall report to the Congress  and make available to the                                                                  
     public  a  report on  the  activities  of the  Attorney                                                                  
     General under subsection (a).                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG  offered  his understanding  that  this                                                               
provision  of  H.R. 45  would  allow  the U.S.  Consumer  Product                                                               
Safety  Commission (CPSC)  to  maintain a  database  in order  to                                                               
ensure  that   firearms  are  manufactured  safely   and  thereby                                                               
hopefully prevent injuries and deaths.   He said that although he                                                               
supports gun rights,  owns several guns himself, and  is a former                                                               
navy gunnery  officer, he  knows that firearms  - like  any other                                                               
complex and  potentially dangerous machine  - can cause  death or                                                               
injury.  The  more information society has, he  opined, the safer                                                               
its citizens can be.  With  regard to Sec. 510(a)(3) of H.R. 45's                                                               
Title V,  he said that it  relates to H.R. 45's  Title VII, which                                                               
read:                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
     TITLE VII--RELATIONSHIP TO OTHER LAW                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
     SEC. 701. SUBORDINATION TO ARMS EXPORT CONTROL ACT.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
          In the event of any conflict between any                                                                              
     provision  of this  Act or  an amendment  made by  this                                                                    
     Act, and any  provision of the Arms  Export Control Act                                                                    
     (22  U.S.C. 2751),  the provision  of  the Arms  Export                                                                    
     Control Act shall control.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG  indicated that  that Act  requires that                                                               
the  aggregate value  of defense  articles  and defense  services                                                               
sold in any  fiscal year should not exceed current  levels.  This                                                               
information may  be very helpful  in the enforcement  of national                                                               
security,  and   it  is  important   to  know   whether  American                                                               
manufactures  are exporting  weapons  to  governments and  groups                                                               
that  would use  the weapons  against  the United  States and  in                                                               
violation of national  security.  Therefore, he  said, he doesn't                                                               
wish  to  highlight disapproval  of  [Titles  V  and VII  as  the                                                               
provision  that Amendment  2 would  delete proposes  to do].   He                                                               
asked that Amendment 2 be adopted.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
1:24:31 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  HARRIS  said  he   doesn't  support  Amendment  2                                                               
because  HJR 17  currently deals  with  all aspects  of H.R.  45,                                                               
which  he   opposes  in  its   entirety,  and  opined   that  the                                                               
aforementioned Title  V will  cause government  to expand  and be                                                               
more intrusive.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  COGHILL  expressed   opposition  to  Amendment  2                                                               
because [Title  IV of] H.R.  45 would allow the  attorney general                                                               
to issue  an order prohibiting  the sale or transfer  of firearms                                                               
found to  be in violation of  the Act, and because  Title V could                                                               
add another layer of bureaucracy.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG said he supports  HJR 17 and thinks that                                                               
Alaska's congressional  delegation should vote against  H.R. 45 -                                                               
including  voting  against Titles  V  and  VII  - but  is  simply                                                               
opposed to highlighting Title V  as another reason to oppose H.R.                                                               
45,  particularly given  that  there are  so  many other  reasons                                                               
listed;  maintaining the  language that  Amendment 2  proposes to                                                               
delete   is    not   necessary   in   order    to   support   the                                                               
conclusions/resolves in HJR 17.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
A  roll  call vote  was  taken.   Representatives  Gruenberg  and                                                               
Holmes voted in  favor of Amendment 2.   Representatives Coghill,                                                               
Gatto,   Lynn,  and   Ramras  voted   against  it.     Therefore,                                                               
Amendment 2 failed by a vote of 2-4.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
1:30:35 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG moved to report  HJR 17, as amended, out                                                               
of   committee   with    individual   recommendations   and   the                                                               
accompanying fiscal notes.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG, in response  to a comment, withdrew his                                                               
motion.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  HOLMES, characterizing  H.R.  45 as  out of  step                                                               
with Alaska  values, offered her  understanding that H.R.  45 was                                                               
written by a congressman from  the inner-city of Chicago, someone                                                               
who  isn't familiar  with Alaska  culture; for  example, H.R.  45                                                               
includes licensing requirements such that  the owner of a firearm                                                               
must certify  that he/she won't allow  a person under the  age of                                                               
18 to  possess the  firearm, and although  this might  make sense                                                               
for the inner-city  of Chicago, it doesn't make  sense for Alaska                                                               
wherein youngsters  are encouraged to become  knowledgeable about                                                               
hunting and  firearm safety.  In  conclusion, she said she  is in                                                               
support of HJR 17.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
1:32:37 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG  again  moved  to  report  HJR  17,  as                                                               
amended,  out of  committee with  individual recommendations  and                                                               
the  accompanying  fiscal  notes.    There  being  no  objection,                                                               
CSHJR 17(JUD)  was reported  from  the  House Judiciary  Standing                                                               
Committee.                                                                                                                      

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
HJR17 Sponsor Statement.pdf HJUD 2/16/2009 1:00:00 PM
Amend 1.pdf HJUD 2/16/2009 1:00:00 PM
HJR17 version A.pdf HJUD 2/16/2009 1:00:00 PM
HR45 and Summary.pdf HJUD 2/16/2009 1:00:00 PM