Legislature(1997 - 1998)

04/18/1997 09:13 AM FIN

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
txt
       SB 141  CONCEALED HANDGUN PERMITS                                       
                                                                               
       SENATOR GREEN testified on behalf of the bill.  SENATOR                 
       TORGERSON  MOVED to adopt draft  CS version "X" as CSSB
       141(FIN).   Without objection,  it was  ADOPTED.   Also                 
       testifying were  TUCKERMAN BABCOCK, RANDY  SMITH, BRUCE                 
       OCKRASSA,  MIKE  CORKILL, PHIL  NASH,  ROD CHRISTOPHER,                 
       PATRICK JOHNSON, JOE MICHAUD, BILL JONES, GREGG  OLSON,                 
       SCOTT CAMPBELL, HARRIS  STUERMER, DIANE BUFFINGTON, BOB                 
       WISEMAN,  DUANE BUELL,  DICK BISHOP, DEL  SMITH, LAUREE                 
       HUGONIN,  ART SNOWDEN and ANN CARPENETI.   The bill was                 
       HELD for further consideration.                                         
  SB 141  CONCEALED HANDGUN PERMITS                                            
                                                                               
  SENATOR LYDA GREEN  testified on  behalf of the  bill.   She                 
  recalled last  year's bill,  SB 177, which  was vetoed,  and                 
  stated that SB 141 addresses some of the same concerns.  She                 
  described  differences in  a  proposed CS,  version  X.   It                 
  extended the time frame for issuing a permit from fifteen to                 
  thirty  days.   Language  was  also amended  to  reflect the                 
  intent to not permit felons to ever carry concealed weapons.                 
  Another  provision  dealt  with  an  instruction  book  with                 
  pertinent information concerning where it  would be legal to                 
  carry concealed by making it consistent with where one could                 
  carry  openly.  A  fourth change related  to concerns raised                 
  last year about  alcohol.  A person carrying concealed would                 
  be prohibited  from drinking alcohol  in a restaurant.   The                 
  last change  had  to do  with permitting  peace officers  in                 
  Sections  4,  6  and  9.    There had  been  some  statewide                 
  objection,  but she  did  not feel  it  was unreasonable  to                 
  include peace officers.   The main  premise of the bill  was                 
  that those permitted to apply for  a concealed weapon permit                 
  and  the  places a  person  could  carry a  weapon  would be                 
  consistent with those  who were  permitted to carry  openly.                 
  It did  not make sense  to have  a list of  prohibitions for                 
  those carrying  concealed when one  did not exist  for those                 
  who  simply  owned  a  gun.   The  consistency  would reduce                 
  confusion and make the privilege of carry concealed what  it                 
  was intended to be.                                                          
                                                                               
  SENATOR TORGERSON MOVED  to adopt  draft CS  version "X"  as                 
  CSSB 141(FIN).  Without objection, it was ADOPTED.                           
                                                                               
  SENATOR  ADAMS  inquired what  was  being eliminated  in the                 
  qualifications under the repealers.   He asked if alcoholics                 
  would be able to get a permit.                                               
                                                                               
  SENATOR GREEN responded that a list in federal law of people                 
  prohibited from carrying  openly addressed alcohol and  drug                 
  abuse.  She  believed the list was  in committee files  in a                 
  document from Legal  Services dated 3/24/97.   SENATOR ADAMS                 
  inquired  about   the  repealer  section,   specifically  AS                 
  18.65.740, and asked for the rationale.                                      
                                                                               
  End SFC-97 #115, Side 1, Begin Side 2                                        
                                                                               
  TUCKERMAN BABCOCK,  Staff,  Senator  Green,  explained  that                 
  being convicted of two class  A misdemeanors did not prevent                 
  carrying a handgun.  If the intent of the legislature was to                 
  prohibit  that,  it   would  be   a  different  issue   than                 
  specifically trying  to address  the 6,000  people who  have                 
                                                                               
                                                                               
  permits.                                                                     
                                                                               
  SENATOR PARNELL pointed  out a  difference from last  year's                 
  bill   in  that   SB  141  greatly   reduced  the   list  of                 
  qualifications  and  requirements to  obtain  a permit.   He                 
  questioned whether federal law covered  those because he was                 
  unsure if it was even  enforced in the state.  He  suggested                 
  including  the  list in  statute.    He asked  which  of the                 
  repealed sections were not covered by federal law.                           
                                                                               
  MR. BABCOCK responded  that the list under  AS 18.65 related                 
  only to those  who apply for a  concealed carry permit.   It                 
  was a different  list from  those who could  openly carry  a                 
  handgun.   All current  prohibitions for  people who  openly                 
  carry  a  handgun would  apply to  those  who applied  for a                 
  concealed permit.   The bill did  not repeal any federal  or                 
  state prohibition  except those specifically  referenced for                 
  the concealed carry and only apply to 6,000 people.                          
                                                                               
  COCHAIR SHARP called for statewide teleconference  testimony                 
  next.  He  asked that testimony be limited to two minutes to                 
  allow everyone an opportunity to testify.                                    
                                                                               
  Anchorage:                                                                   
  RANDY SMITH favored the  bill.  He  stated that it puts  all                 
  Alaskans on an equal  basis.  He supported the  provision on                 
  page 6, line 2 permitting  retired law enforcement officers,                 
  but suggested a two year  period for additional flexibility.                 
  He  expressed  a  problem  with   the  renewal  section  and                 
  suggested it include an update of  federal and state law and                 
  a demonstration  of competence.  Another option  would be to                 
  require  the department  to  notify permittees  by certified                 
  mail of  any changes of  the law  within thirty days  of the                 
  effective date.                                                              
                                                                               
  BRUCE OCKRASSA testified in support of  SB 141.  He believed                 
  that  concealed  carry laws  were  saving lives  by reducing                 
  violent crime.                                                               
                                                                               
  MIKE CORKILL,  Alaska Peace  Officers Association,  spoke to                 
  two provisions they  had requested.  He  supported including                 
  police officers both within the state and from out-of-state.                 
  Retired  peace  officers  had   already  received  extensive                 
  training  and  he  supported  the  waiver  of  some  of  the                 
  permitting process.  He did not believe reciprocity for out-                 
  of-state permittees  should be recognized  across the  board                 
  because other states permitting process was not as stringent                 
  as Alaska's.    He also  firmly believed  that no  convicted                 
  felon should  ever be  allowed to  apply for  a permit.   He                 
  supported fees remaining the same.                                           
                                                                               
  Kenai:                                                                       
  PHIL  NASH, Attorney, stated the fee  issue was a non-issue.                 
  He noted that copies of current law were already provided in                 
                                                                               
                                                                               
  instructional classes.  He referred  to the repealer brought                 
  up earlier and explained that  it would not affect anything.                 
   He  supported  reciprocity in  order  to allow  Alaskans to                 
  carry  concealed  outside   the  state.    He   opposed  the                 
  provisions for  former administrative  police officers,  but                 
  not for "street  cops."  A  special rule would perpetuate  a                 
  "them and us mentality."                                                     
                                                                               
  ROD  CHRISTOPHER,  Instructor,  Peninsula  Weapons  Academy,                 
  supported  the provision  for retired  police officers,  but                 
  believed they  should take the  law enforcement class  to be                 
  brought up to date.   Regarding restaurants serving alcohol,                 
  he  believed  that as  long  as  a permittee  stayed  in the                 
  restaurant part  of the  establishment and  did not  consume                 
  alcohol, he should be  allowed to carry a handgun  in there.                 
  He believed the qualifications standards for  classes should                 
  be raised.                                                                   
                                                                               
  Homer:                                                                       
  PATRICK  JOHNSON,  Law  Enforcement  Alliance  of   America,                 
  supported the inclusion of retired police officers, training                 
  requirements and reciprocity with other states.                              
  Valdez: JOE MICHAUD, Police Chief, Valdez Police Department,                 
  expressed  his   appreciation  for   the  response   to  law                 
  enforcement  personnel  about some  of  their concerns.   He                 
  briefly  addressed  the issue  of  reciprocity and  spoke in                 
  favor of it.                                                                 
                                                                               
  Barrow:                                                                      
  BILL JONES testified in  support of the bill.   He supported                 
  carrying  concealed in  restaurants  rather  than having  to                 
  leave  the  weapon in  a  vehicle.   He  also  supported the                 
  reciprocity provision for  protection for Alaskans traveling                 
  out-of-state.                                                                
                                                                               
  GREGG OLSON, Training  Officer, Gun Club, supported  SB 141.                 
  He appreciated the exemption for former police officers.  He                 
  briefly  addressed  training  of the  legal  portion  of the                 
  permitting process.                                                          
                                                                               
  SCOTT CAMPBELL, Police Chief, North Slope Borough, supported                 
  the bill and  appreciated the inclusion of  police officers.                 
  He urged passage of the bill.                                                
                                                                               
  HARRIS  STUERMER  testified  in  support,  particularly  the                 
  restaurant provision and the reciprocity provision.                          
                                                                               
  Kodiak:                                                                      
  DIANA   BUFFINGTON,   District   Chair,  Republican   Party,                 
  supported SB 141 because she had been a rape victim and felt                 
  women should be able to protect themselves.  It would reduce                 
  domestic violence.   She believed women  particularly needed                 
  the  law  and  it  would  make  it easier  to  enact  Second                 
  Amendment rights.                                                            
                                                                               
                                                                               
  Kenai:                                                                       
  BOB  WISEMAN  supported   the  legislation  for  law-abiding                 
  citizens.  He  didn't support  giving special privileges  to                 
  former law enforcement officers.   He supported reciprocity.                 
  He suggested using the commercial drivers' .04 blood alcohol                 
  level guideline for concealed carry permitting.                              
                                                                               
  RAYMOND CARR, Instructor, RNS Protection Services, testified                 
  in favor of SB 141 as written.                                               
                                                                               
  The following individuals testified in person in Juneau:                     
                                                                               
  DUANE BUELL, Owner, Sporting Goods  Store, Juneau, supported                 
  SB 141.   He believed the  bill was good  for the permitting                 
  process.  Reciprocity  was a  non-issue in  that history  in                 
  other states show now problems.  He supported legal training                 
  for retired police officers.                                                 
                                                                               
  DICK  BISHOP, Executive  Director,  Alaska Outdoor  Council,                 
  stated the council's  support for  the adopted version  CSSB
  141(FIN).  He supported  consideration for ensuring  retired                 
  police officers be kept current on laws.                                     
  DEL SMITH, Deputy Commissioner,  Department of Public Safety                 
  (DPS), testified that  the concealed  law was working  well.                 
  There were 6,325 permittees  as of 4/11/97.  No  permits had                 
  been  rescinded  for  bad  acts  because  of  the  effective                 
  screening process.  He brought up a concern about rescinding                 
  the list  of places  where individuals  were not  allowed to                 
  carry concealed weapons  as it related to  domestic violence                 
  shelters.   He supported meeting Alaska  standards regarding                 
  reciprocity.  In response  to a question from SENATOR  ADAMS                 
  regarding a thirty-day time period, he stated they could not                 
  get the necessary information from the FBI in that amount of                 
  time.   They could take  up to five  months in  getting back                 
  with a report, so they conduct a statewide check.  If  there                 
  is not indication of a problem, they submit the fingerprints                 
  to the FBI and issue a conditional permit.  The average time                 
  was  thirty  days  from  the  point  of application  to  the                 
  issuance of a permit.                                                        
                                                                               
  SENATOR  TORGERSON noted  a  provision referencing  existing                 
  statute that municipalities and villages  could have a local                 
  election opting to  exclude concealed weapons.   He inquired                 
  if there were any existing.  MR. SMITH was not aware of any.                 
                                                                               
  LAUREE HUGONIN,  Executive  Director,  Council  on  Domestic                 
  Violence and  Sexual Assault,  DPS,  expressed concern  with                 
  Sections 10, 13 and 15.  Section 10 reduced the restrictions                 
  for  qualifying permitees.   She  believed it was  vague and                 
  referred to AS 12.55.015, noting that someone could still be                 
  eligible  to  possess a  handgun.    The court  may  order a                 
  forfeiture, but didn't have  to.  She also had  concern that                 
  there  was no list  under AS 11.61.200  and believed federal                 
                                                                               
                                                                               
  law was not expansive enough to cover what was needed.                       
                                                                               
  ART SNOWDEN,  Administrative Director, Alaska  Court System,                 
  did not have a position.   He suggested adding a  section to                 
  prohibit the carrying  of firearms  in a judicial  facility,                 
  with the exception  of police officers, security  guards and                 
  those that were part of evidence.                                            
                                                                               
  End SFC-97 #115, Side 2                                                      
  Begin SFC-97 #116, Side 1                                                    
                                                                               
  In response to a question from SENATOR  PARNELL, MR. SNOWDEN                 
  acknowledged   that  there  was  a  court  rule  prohibiting                 
  firearms, but  no law.   People generally didn't  know court                 
  rules and he believed  a law would be appropriate.   SENATOR                 
  ADAMS asked about federal laws.   MR. SNOWDEN responded that                 
  there was a federal law that bans firearms in federal court,                 
  but it did not apply to state court.                                         
                                                                               
  SENATOR  ADAMS  brought up  concerns  regarding people  with                 
  alcohol  and  drug   problems  and   the  repealer   section                 
  concerning training.                                                         
                                                                               
  MR. BABCOCK explained the repealer  applied only to renewal,                 
  it  was  still  a  requirement   for  the  original  permit.                 
  Regarding  the  first  concern,  a  person  prohibited  from                 
  possessing a handgun  under state or federal law  would also                 
  be prohibited from  applying for  a concealed carry  permit.                 
  He referred to the 3/24/97 memo regarding the standards that                 
  would apply.  There was additional discussion among SENATORS                 
  PARNELL, PHILLIPS,  GREEN, ADAMS  and MR.  BABCOCK regarding                 
  clarification of the repealers section.                                      
                                                                               
  ANN   CARPENETI,   Assistant   Attorney  General,   Criminal                 
  Division, Department of  Law, explained the that  a revision                 
  in  the  penalty  section  eliminated  a B  misdemeanor  for                 
  carrying  where   prohibited,   but  did   not   provide   a                 
  corresponding  violation.    SENATOR  ADAMS  believed  there                 
  should be a penalty.                                                         
                                                                               
  COCHAIR  SHARP   asked  if   there   would  be   forthcoming                 
  amendments.  SENATORS ADAMS and PHILLIPS affirmed they would                 
  be  proposing   amendments.    In  response,  COCHAIR  SHARP                 
  announced  that  the   bill  would   be  HELD  for   further                 
  consideration.                                                               

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