Legislature(2005 - 2006)BUTROVICH 205
05/03/2005 08:30 AM JUDICIARY
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HB 184 AM -MUNICIPAL FIREARM ORDINANCES 9:05:41 AM CHAIR RALPH SEEKINS introduced HB 184. MS. SUE WRIGHT, staff to Representative Mike Chenault introduced HB 184, which would ensure that citizens be able to look to one law as the single final authority regarding firearm regulation. MR. BRIAN JUDY, member, National Rifle Association (NRA), voiced approval of the bill. 9:08:08 AM SENATOR GUESS asked Mr. Judy whether HB 184 overturns any current municipal law. MR. JUDY responded he does not believe any municipalities in Alaska have local ordinances that deal with firearms businesses more restrictively than other businesses. SENATOR GUESS stated Anchorage has an ordinance where liquor stores have to be a certain distance from schools. She asked whether those types of restrictions could be imposed upon a firearm dealer. MR. JUDY answered he is not sure. 9:09:53 AM SENATOR FRENCH stated there are many businesses that incur restrictions. CHAIR SEEKINS asserted selling firearms is not the same as selling pornography. SENATOR HUGGINS mentioned the federal government has exclusionary laws around schools. 9:12:00 AM SENATOR FRENCH wanted to know how restrictively a gun shop owner would be treated. CHAIR SEEKINS moved Amendment 1. 24-LS0632\AA.1 Luckhaupt 4/28/05 A M E N D M E N T 1 OFFERED IN THE SENATE TO: HB 184 am Page 1, lines 3 - 11: Delete all material. Insert new bill sections to read: * Sec. 1. AS 29.35.145(a) is repealed and reenacted to read: (a) The authority to regulate firearms is reserved to the state and, except as specifically provided by statute, a municipality may not enact or enforce an ordinance regulating the possession, ownership, sale, transfer, use, carrying, transportation, licensing, taxation, or registration of firearms. * Sec. 2. AS 29.35.145 is amended by adding new subsections to read: (c) Municipalities may enact and enforce ordinances (1) that are identical to state law and that have the same penalty as provided for by state law; (2) restricting the discharge of firearms in any portion of their respective jurisdictions where there is a reasonable likelihood that people, domestic animals, or property will be jeopardized; ordinances enacted or enforced under this paragraph may not abridge the right of the individual guaranteed by art. I, sec. 19, Constitution of the State of Alaska, to bear arms in defense of self or others; (3) restricting the areas in their respective jurisdictions in which firearms may be sold; a business selling firearms may not be treated more restrictively that other businesses located within the same zone; and (4) prohibiting the possession of firearms in the restricted access area of municipal government buildings; the municipal assembly shall post notice of the prohibition against possession of firearms at each entrance to the restricted access area. (d) In this section, (1) "firearms" includes firearms, or any other element relating to firearms or parts thereof including ammunition and reloading components; (2) "restricted access area" means the area beyond a secure point where visitors are screened and does not include common areas of ingress and egress open to the general public. (e) The prohibition on taxation in (a) of this section does not include imposition of a sales tax that is levied on all products sold within a municipality." SENATOR FRENCH objected for discussion. He asked Chair Seekins how the new Section 1 would coexist with Section 1 of the underlying bill. CHAIR SEEKINS asked Mr. Judy to comment. 9:14:36 AM MR. JUDY indicated only the findings were taken out. He did not understand the question. CHAIR SEEKINS asked whether the intent of the bill was restated in Amendment 1 or whether it was included in it. MR. JUDY said the amendment would start with repealing and reenacting AS 29.35.145(a). The content of the original bill is clearly restated in the amendment. SENATOR FRENCH said by leaving out "discharge" in Amendment 1 it implicitly cedes to municipalities the authority to regulate discharge. 9:17:52 AM SENATOR FRENCH said he wanted to make sure subsection (a) in Section 2 doesn't override subsection (c) of Section 3. CHAIR SEEKINS said it does not. The amendment gives municipalities the ability to regulate discharge. 9:18:40 AM SENATOR GUESS referred to Section 2, subsection (a) and asked whether a municipality can tax firearms or anything associated with firearms. MR. JUDY responded the end of the bill allows imposition of sales tax. 9:19:58 AM SENATOR FRENCH removed his objection. Amendment 1 was adopted unanimously. CHAIR SEEKINS moved Amendment 2. 24-LS0632\AA.2 Luckhaupt A M E N D M E N T 2 OFFERED IN THE SENATE TO: HB 184 am Page 1, following line 11: Insert a new bill section to read: "* Sec. 3. AS 18.65 is amended by adding a new section to read: Article 10A. Firearms. Sec. 18.65.800. Possession of firearms in motor vehicles. (a) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the state, a municipality, or a person may not adopt or enforce a law, ordinance, policy, or rule that prohibits or has the effect of prohibiting an individual from possessing a firearm while that individual is within a motor vehicle or prohibiting an individual from storing a firearm that is locked in the individual's motor vehicle while the motor vehicle is otherwise legally parked in or on state or municipal property or another person's property. This section applies only to possession of a firearm by an individual who may legally possess a firearm under state and federal law. (b) This section does not limit a person's rights or remedies under any other law. (c) The state, a municipality, or a person is not liable for any injury or damage resulting from the storage of a firearm in the vehicle of an individual in accordance with this section." SENATOR FRENCH objected for discussion. MR. JUDY explained Amendment 2 would provide that a state, municipality, or person may not prohibit possession of firearms in vehicles. He said he sees a problem where an employer has a "no guns in the workplace" policy. The employer has a right to that policy in the workplace but the problem is when the policy is extended to the company parking lot. The policy would effectively disarm individuals for the entire day. 9:22:34 AM The basis of Amendment 2 allows workplace restrictions but does not allow them to be extended to the vehicles. SENATOR GUESS asked whether there are current state or local restrictions on having a firearm in a motor vehicle at a school. She asked whether this would be changing current practice in Alaska. MR. JUDY said he didn't think so. Under Anchorage municipal ordinances, firearms are completely banned in vehicles but under state law, they are allowed with some restrictions. The preemption bill would modify the Anchorage ordinance but it would not modify state law. 9:24:31 AM SENATOR FRENCH clarified Anchorage municipal law does not prohibit guns in vehicles. Possession of a gun on school grounds is prohibited. HB 184 would have the effect of overriding that. CHAIR SEEKINS agreed. MR. JUDY clarified under state law, firearms are prohibited on school grounds. CHAIR SEEKINS asserted HB 184 would not modify state law. SENATOR FRENCH pointed out municipal ordinance does not allow guns on school grounds. 9:25:51 AM MR. JUDY understood Anchorage municipal ordinance restricts firearms from schools. CHAIR SEEKINS acknowledged HB 184 would change that ordinance. Guns would have to be unloaded and locked in the vehicle. SENATOR GUESS referred to line 16 of Amendment 2 and asked whether it would exempt a gun owner from anything resulting from the storage of their firearms. CHAIR SEEKINS said the intent would be to exempt the property owner from liability for the action of the gun being in the vehicle. MR. JUDY agreed. 9:28:42 AM Chair Seekins proposed an amendment to Amendment 2. Line 17, delete "an". Insert "another." SENATOR FRENCH advised Mr. Judy of his concern regarding private property rights. Amendment 2 indicates a homeowner or employer would not be allowed to bar people from bringing guns to a home or to the workplace. MR. JUDY claimed Amendment 2 is an attempt to strike a balance between property rights and individual rights. 9:33:30 AM SENATOR FRENCH disagreed with the concept. He said private property is private property. SENATOR HUGGINS asked Senator French whether he thought he should be able to search somebody's vehicle on his property. SENATOR FRENCH answered yes. SENATOR HUGGINS asserted individuals have privacy rights. SENATOR FRENCH said the (US Constitution) Fourth Amendment applies to the government. Chair Seekins announced a brief recess at 9:35:06 AM. Chair Seekins reconvened the meeting at 9:41:59 AM. Roll call proved Amendment 2 passed with Senator French dissenting. Chair Seekins announced a brief recess at 9:43:01 AM. Chair Seekins reconvened the meeting at 9:43:31 AM. SENATOR HUGGINS moved SCS HB 184(JUD) from committee with individual recommendations and attached fiscal note(s). SENATOR FRENCH objected. He said he hoped to vote for the bill when it came into committee but Amendment 2 strips the personal property rights of Alaskan citizens. Roll call proved SCS HB 184(JUD) passed out of committee with Senator French dissenting.