Legislature(2013 - 2014)CAPITOL 120

02/27/2013 01:00 PM JUDICIARY


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Audio Topic
01:06:14 PM Start
01:07:53 PM Confirmatin Hearing(s): || Violent Crimes Compensation Board
01:10:29 PM Board of Governors of the Alaska Bar
01:16:25 PM Commission on Judicial Conduct
01:26:39 PM Board of Governors of the Alaska Bar
01:42:09 PM HB83
02:05:33 PM HB33
02:27:01 PM HB104
03:02:45 PM HB63
03:04:33 PM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
+ Confirmation Hearings: TELECONFERENCED
- Board of Governors of the Alaska Bar Assoc.
- Commission on Judicial Conduct
- Violent Crimes Compensation Board
-- Testimony <Invitation Only> --
*+ HB 33 KNIVES, GRAVITY KNIVES, & SWITCHBLADES TELECONFERENCED
Moved Out of Committee
+ HB 104 ELECTION PROCEDURES; REAA ADVISORY BOARDS TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
+= HB 83 FEDERAL REGULATIONS & EXECUTIVE ORDERS TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
= HB 63 EXTEND BAR ASS'N BOARD OF GOVERNORS
Adopted Judiciary Letter of Intent
         HB 33 - KNIVES, GRAVITY KNIVES, & SWITCHBLADES                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
2:05:33 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR KELLER announced  that the next order of  business would be                                                               
HOUSE BILL NO. 33, "An  Act adding definitions of 'gravity knife'                                                               
and 'switchblade' to the criminal  law; and relating to reserving                                                               
the  authority  to regulate  knives  to  the state  with  limited                                                               
exceptions for municipalities to regulate knives."                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
2:05:47 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  MARK NEUMAN,  Alaska State  Legislature, sponsor,                                                               
indicated that  HB 33 would  clarify that [knives with  a spring,                                                               
detent,  or other  mechanism  designed to  create  a bias  toward                                                               
closure, such as those on]  hunting, fishing, and utility knives,                                                               
do  not qualify  as  [either gravity  knives  or] switchblades  -                                                               
prohibited under state law -  and can therefore be owned legally.                                                               
Rulings  by the  court indicate  that Alaska's  criminal statutes                                                               
warrant clarification  with regard to what  constitutes a gravity                                                               
knife or  a switchblade for  purposes of prosecution, and  so the                                                               
goal with  HB 33  is to provide  that clarification  [by defining                                                               
those terms  in AS 11.81.900(b)].   He mentioned that  some other                                                               
states  have also  addressed  this  issue; characterized  [knives                                                               
with a  spring, detent, or  other mechanism designed to  create a                                                               
bias  toward closure,  such  as those  on  hunting, fishing,  and                                                               
utility knives] as important tools  for working Alaskans; offered                                                               
his belief  that HB 33  would provide protection to  Alaskans who                                                               
carry such  knives; and  indicated that  the bill  also addresses                                                               
the state's right [to regulate knives].                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
2:08:20 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REX  SHATTUCK Staff,  Representative  Mark  Neuman, Alaska  State                                                               
Legislature,  on behalf  of the  sponsor, Representative  Neuman,                                                               
explained that Section  1 of HB 33 would add  new paragraphs (65)                                                               
and  (66) to  AS 11.81.900(b), respectively  defining the  terms,                                                               
"gravity  knife" and  "switchblade";  both  of these  definitions                                                               
include language  specifying that such  a knife does  not include                                                               
[one  with  a spring,  detent,  or  other mechanism  designed  to                                                               
create  a bias  toward closure  that requires  a person  to apply                                                               
exertion to  the blade  by hand,  wrist, or  arm to  overcome the                                                               
bias toward  closure and open the  blade].  Sections 2,  3, and 4                                                               
of  HB 33  would,  respectively,  add a  reference  to knives  to                                                               
AS 29.10.200(40) - addressing a limitation  of home rule powers -                                                               
and to  AS 29.35.145(a)  and (b) -  addressing the  regulation of                                                               
firearms  - thereby  stipulating that  the authority  to regulate                                                               
knives  is   reserved  to  the   state  and   limiting  municipal                                                               
ordinances addressing knives.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MR.  SHATTUCK   explained  that   both  AS   11.61.210(a)(5)  and                                                               
AS 11.61.220(a)(5) - addressing the existing  class A and class B                                                               
misdemeanor crimes of misconduct  involving weapons in the fourth                                                               
and fifth  degree, respectively -  reference both  gravity knives                                                               
and switchblades,  but don't  define them.   Again, Section  1 of                                                               
HB 33 would  provide those definitions.   He noted  that members'                                                               
packets contain a memorandum from  Legislative Legal and Research                                                               
Services  that references  two court  cases  wherein the  [Alaska                                                               
Court of Appeals] mentioned Alaska's  current lack of a statutory                                                               
definition  for the  terms, "gravity  knife" and  "switchblade" -                                                               
State v. Weaver,  736 P.2d 781 (Alaska Ct. App.  1987), and State                                                           
v. Strange, 785 P.2d 563 (Alaska  Ct. App. 1990).  He offered his                                                             
understanding  that  under  both   federal  law  and  the  bill's                                                               
proposed definition,  a switchblade would  not be a knife  with a                                                               
spring,  detent, or  other mechanism  designed to  create a  bias                                                               
toward closure  that requires a  person to apply exertion  to the                                                               
blade by hand, wrist, or arm  to overcome the bias toward closure                                                               
and open  the blade.   He then  demonstrated opening  and closing                                                               
various knives brought as examples.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
MR. SHATTUCK,  in conclusion, ventured  that HB 33  would protect                                                               
Alaskans by providing definitions  for the terms, "gravity knife"                                                               
and "switchblade",  and by ensuring  that the laws  pertaining to                                                               
knives are uniform throughout Alaska.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
2:19:21 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
TODD RATHNER,  Director, Legislative Affairs, Knife  Rights, Inc.                                                               
- mentioning  that his organization  has filed a  lawsuit against                                                               
the city of  New York asserting civil rights  violations, and has                                                               
been working  at the  local level in  numerous states  to address                                                               
uniformity  in their  laws  pertaining to  knives  - offered  his                                                               
belief that some  people around the country  are being wrongfully                                                               
arrested for  carrying a so-called  illegal knife  simply because                                                               
of  inadequate  statutory/regulatory  definitions.   In  a  rural                                                               
state like Alaska, carrying a knife  of some kind, in addition to                                                               
being  common,  is  practically  a necessity,  and  HB  33  would                                                               
clearly define what  is and what is not either  a "gravity knife"                                                               
or a  "switchblade", and  would stipulate  that the  authority to                                                               
regulate  knives is  reserved to  the state,  thereby eliminating                                                               
confusion for both law enforcement  and citizens.  In conclusion,                                                               
he urged adoption of HB 33.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
2:21:40 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
RAY THIBAULT,  Owner, Northern  Knives, expressed  agreement with                                                               
the  previous speakers,  adding that  as  the owner  of a  retail                                                               
store  selling knives,  he  is frequently  asked  to define  what                                                               
constitutes  a  "gravity  knife"  or a  "switchblade"  and  which                                                               
knives  are legal  to own/carry,  and thus  HB 33  would help  by                                                               
clarifying what is meant by those terms.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  NEUMAN,   in  response  to  a   question  and  in                                                               
conclusion, indicated that the goal of  HB 33 is to clarify state                                                               
law at it pertains to knives.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
2:25:00 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE LYNN moved  to report HB 33 out  of committee with                                                               
individual  recommendations and  the  accompanying fiscal  notes.                                                               
There  being no  objection, HB  33  was reported  from the  House                                                               
Judiciary Standing Committee.                                                                                                   

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
Alaska Bar - Gordon #3.pdf HJUD 2/27/2013 1:00:00 PM
Alaska Bar - Trombley #3.pdf HJUD 2/27/2013 1:00:00 PM
Judicial Conduct - Groseclose #3.pdf HJUD 2/27/2013 1:00:00 PM
Violent Crimes - Godfrey #3.pdf HJUD 2/27/2013 1:00:00 PM
HB 33 Sponsor Statement.pdf HJUD 2/27/2013 1:00:00 PM
HB 33
HB 33 ver U.pdf HJUD 2/27/2013 1:00:00 PM
HB 33
HB33 Fiscal Note-Department of Commerce.pdf HJUD 2/27/2013 1:00:00 PM
HB 33
HB 33 Fiscal Note-Public Defenders Agency.pdf HJUD 2/27/2013 1:00:00 PM
HB 33
HB 33 Fiscal Note-Office of Public Advocacy.pdf HJUD 2/27/2013 1:00:00 PM
HB 33
HB 33 Fiscal Note-Department of Law.pdf HJUD 2/27/2013 1:00:00 PM
HB 33
HB 33 Gravity & Switchblade Knife Definitions.pdf HJUD 2/27/2013 1:00:00 PM
HB 33
HB 104 H(JUD) Hearing Request Letter.pdf HJUD 2/27/2013 1:00:00 PM
HB 104
03 Gov Transmittal Letter HB 104.PDF HJUD 2/27/2013 1:00:00 PM
HSTA 2/19/2013 8:00:00 AM
HB 104
CSHB 104(STA) sectional analysis.pdf HJUD 2/27/2013 1:00:00 PM
HB 104
CSHB 104(STA).pdf HJUD 2/27/2013 1:00:00 PM
HB 104
HB104.pdf HJUD 2/27/2013 1:00:00 PM
HB 104
HB 104 Draft Amendment Version A.1.pdf HJUD 2/27/2013 1:00:00 PM
HB 104
HB 104 Draft Amendment ver C.1.pdf HJUD 2/27/2013 1:00:00 PM
HB 104
Explanation for Draft Amendment C.1.pdf HJUD 2/27/2013 1:00:00 PM
HB 104
CSHB 104(STA) witness list.pdf HJUD 2/27/2013 1:00:00 PM
HB 104
HSTA Committee Report HB 104 2-19-2013.pdf HJUD 2/27/2013 1:00:00 PM
HB 104