Legislature(1993 - 1994)

02/22/1994 08:00 AM STA

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
  HCR 27 - SUPPORT NRA GUN SAFETY PROGRAM                                      
  Number 374                                                                   
  CHAIR VEZEY called the meeting back to order at 9:12 a.m.                    
  and opened HCR 27 for discussion.                                            
  Number 379                                                                   
  REPRESENTATIVE CON BUNDE, HCR 27 SPONSOR, gave an overview                   
  of the bill.  HCR 27 is an attempt to encourage school                       
  children in Alaska to learn to protect themselves from gun                   
  accidents.  HCR 27 is not an advocacy program for gun                        
  ownership, it simply informs children on how to protect                      
  themselves.  Similar to what children once learned about                     
  fire safety, stop-drop-and roll, the gun safety training                     
  program for kindergarten through sixth grade will teach them                 
  if there is a firearm present to leave the area and tell an                  
  adult.  This program also applies to children who come                       
  across poorly stored firearms in the home.  Representative                   
  Bunde realized the fact that since the NRA is sponsoring HCR
  27, it might make some individuals nervous; however, he                      
  repeated, it does not advocate the possession or use of                      
  weapons.  He commented that 560 children between the ages                    
  10-14 died from firearm injuries.  One out of eight deaths                   
  in children is due to firearm injuries.  High schools have                   
  an increasing rate of violence and teaching children at a                    
  young age to stay away from them would be beneficial.                        
  Representative Bunde has owned firearms since he was twelve                  
  and his father taught him safety and responsibility.                         
  Children, these days, are not raised around firearms as much                 
  as they were in the past, and now have a greater chance of                   
  seeing one for the first time at the neighbors or in a                       
  backpack at school.  Firearm accidents are preventable and                   
  the Eddie Eagle Program would give children "thrust" to be                   
  able to protect themselves and tell an adult in a firearm                    
  (REPRESENTATIVE OLBERG reentered from the recess at 9:15                     
  Number 449                                                                   
  REPRESENTATIVE G. DAVIS commented page 2, line 12, states,                   
  "whereas teachers and police departments in 42 states have                   
  already implemented a gun safety program for some elementary                 
  schools."  He then asked if this was taken from one of his                   
  sources of information, as he imagined some teachers in                      
  every state teach gun safety.                                                
  Number 457                                                                   
  REPRESENTATIVE BUNDE responded the information in HCR 27 was                 
  information he received from the Eddie Eagle Program.  These                 
  programs are formally recognized, as opposed to a section in                 
  a health safety class.  He believed the Mat-Su area was the                  
  only area in Alaska with 27 schools teaching a firearms                      
  safety program.  He was "grim" to say Anchorage schools do                   
  not have these programs and seem to be "in no great hurry to                 
  establish a program."  Representative Bunde was informed by                  
  a parent there had been three firearm incidents in two                       
  schools in south Anchorage, and they are not being reported                  
  to the press or police.  Apparently the school system wanted                 
  to reduce panic or deal with the problem themselves.  He                     
  stated "on very good authority...in a related area, teachers                 
  were told to quit bringing complaints, no more kids were                     
  going to be suspended because it was making the school                       
  system look bad."  Suspension has been a punishment for                      
  bringing firearms on campus.                                                 
  REPRESENTATIVE ULMER did not mind endorsing gun safety, but                  
  she would like to see a video of the specific program before                 
  she endorsed it.  Without more information on the Eddie                      
  Eagle Program, she would be more inclined to support general                 
  gun safety programs.                                                         
  Number 488                                                                   
  REPRESENTATIVE BUNDE replied he did have a video tape,                       
  posters, and coloring books.  The tape had been given to                     
  someone, but he could get another.                                           
  REPRESENTATIVE ULMER encouraged the committee to watch the                   
  video tape before adopting the program.  She noted a title                   
  may be misconceiving about the contents of the tape.                         
  Number 496                                                                   
  REPRESENTATIVE KOTT asked if the video tape was the same as                  
  the one he had seen involving the police and the woman                       
  dialing 911.                                                                 
  REPRESENTATIVE BUNDE answered no, the Eddie Eagle video tape                 
  was aimed at young children being a cartoon with an eagle                    
  flying around and commenting.                                                
  Number 501                                                                   
  REPRESENTATIVE KOTT said the tape he had seen, published by                  
  the NRA, begins with a two minute discussion of an incident,                 
  then blends into the Eddie Eagle portion.  This tape had a                   
  four-five minute clip on the gun safety program and he                       
  wondered if it was the same tape.                                            
  REPRESENTATIVE BUNDE replied the materials he has are what                   
  is available for use in the classrooms and Representative                    
  Kott may have the promotional tape about the program.                        
  Number 509                                                                   
  REPRESENTATIVE KOTT questioned page two, line 13, if it was                  
  referring to the actual Eddie Eagle Program or various gun                   
  safety programs.                                                             
  REPRESENTATIVE BUNDE answered the Eddie Eagle Program.                       
  Number 514                                                                   
  CHAIR VEZEY said his packet did not include any information                  
  about the narrative of the Eddie Eagle Program.  He wanted                   
  to know if he was missing it.                                                
  REPRESENTATIVE BUNDE had not handed it out on the assumption                 
  the committee already knew what the program was about.                       
  Number 518                                                                   
  CHAIR VEZEY replied he had not known about it, but was                       
  certain it was a good program.  House State Affairs                          
  Committee is the only committee of referral and he would let                 
  the committee decide.                                                        
  Number 522                                                                   
  REPRESENTATIVE BUNDE would like the committee to review the                  
  tape before passing HCR 27 out of committee.  The tape is                    
  already on order and it should be available soon.                            
  Hearing no objection from the committee to wait and see tape                 
  CHAIR VEZEY agreed.                                                          
  REPRESENTATIVE KOTT said the content of the tape had been                    
  well discussed.  The theme of the program tells children to                  
  tell an adult if they see a gun.                                             
  Number 533                                                                   
  CHAIR VEZEY moved to the Fairbanks teleconference site.                      
  testified in favor of HCR 27.  He has been a hunter safety                   
  instructor for 31 years in Alaska and a NRA firearms                         
  instructor for 22 years.  Alaska has one of the highest                      
  death and accident rates in the United States.  Forty states                 
  have mandatory hunter safety training programs, a result of                  
  which has been a steady decline in hunting accidents                         
  throughout the nation.  In 1992, only 146 people were killed                 
  by hunting accidents.  More than ten times that number were                  
  killed in bicycle accidents.  Juvenile hunting fatalities                    
  have dropped due to hunter safety training which the NRA                     
  started 40 years ago.  The Eddie Eagle program "is not                       
  experimental and not research."  The amount of firearms will                 
  not reduce, but the number of juvenile accidents can.                        
  Number 567                                                                   
  REPRESENTATIVE ULMER asked if Mr. Burris said 44 states have                 
  a mandatory hunter safety program.                                           
  MR. BURRIS clarified, only 40 states.                                        
  REPRESENTATIVE ULMER asked if the programs were for an adult                 
  hunter safety requirement.                                                   
  MR. BURRIS replied there is variation between states on                      
  whether one has to be an adult or a juvenile to take the                     
  Number 574                                                                   
  REPRESENTATIVE ULMER asked if the programs were a                            
  requirement to acquire a hunting license for those states.                   
  What was their process?                                                      
  Number 576                                                                   
  MR. BURRIS answered, in some states the program is a                         
  requirement for a hunting license, and even if a license is                  
  not required, a juvenile must take the program before going                  
  hunting.  States vary between everyone having the program                    
  and new hunters or juveniles only.                                           
  Number 584                                                                   
  REPRESENTATIVE ULMER asked if Mr. Burris felt this would be                  
  a good idea for Alaska.                                                      
  MR. BURRIS responded it was another issue, but he was in                     
  favor of it.                                                                 
  Number 586                                                                   
  REPRESENTATIVE ULMER questioned if any of the schools in his                 
  community are currently using the program or if they have                    
  had experience with it.                                                      
  Number 588                                                                   
  MR. BURRIS replied some of the schools teachers have used                    
  the program on an individual basis.  There has not been an                   
  adoption of the program by any school he knows of.                           
  Number 591                                                                   
  LAWFUL USE OF FIREARMS, testified in support of HCR 27.  He                  
  said, HCR 27 will help educate children about safety in                      
  relation to firearms.  The program is important in terms of                  
  preventing accidents among young people.  The Eddie Eagle                    
  program is a successful program and he appreciated                           
  Representative Bunde for introducing it.  Alaska should take                 
  an active role in reducing the amount of firearm accidents.                  
  Number 608                                                                   
  REPRESENTATIVE ULMER questioned whether the program had been                 
  used very much in Mr. Bishop's community.   If he knew of a                  
  teacher who had experience with the program in his/her                       
  classroom, she would like to talk to them to find out how it                 
  was used, the children's reactions to it, and if it made a                   
  Number 615                                                                   
  MR. BISHOP said he would contact Representative Ulmer if he                  
  found a teacher in his community.  If not, he would look in                  
  other areas.  There have been various attempts to adopt                      
  firearms education programs, but they have not received                      
  widespread integration into the school curriculums.                          
  Number 625                                                                   
  CHAIR VEZEY moved to the Bethel teleconference site.                         
  Number 626                                                                   
  VERN KEEZER testified in favor of HCR 27 and agreed with Mr.                 
  Burris and Mr. Bishop. He felt the Eddie Eagle program would                 
  be appropriate for older students, as well as elementary.                    
  For those in the hunting age of 10-18, hunter safety                         
  training should be available to them at the same time.                       
  Number 634                                                                   
  Hearing no more testimony, CHAIR VEZEY held HCR 27 in                        
  committee for further review.                                                
  HB 392 was opened for discussion.  He stated Representative                  
  Sean Parnell is chairing a House Finance Subcommittee                        
  meeting and could not come to testify; however, RICHARD                      
  VITALE would take his place.  CHAIR VEZEY explained HB 392                   
  is a technical bill which adopts into statute many of the                    
  current regulations, regarding the Alaska Permanent Fund                     
  Dividend, and clarifies issues that Mr. Vitale will                          
  highlight in his overview.                                                   

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