Legislature(1993 - 1994)

02/09/1994 09:15 AM STA

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
txt
 CHAIRMAN LEMAN brings up SB 237 (WEAPONS POSSESSION/SALE BY/TO                
 MINORS) as the first order of business before the committee today.            
 The Chairman calls Portia Babcock to the table to present                     
 highlights of SB 237 to the committee and to the audience.                    
                                                                               
 Number 022                                                                    
                                                                               
 PORTIA BABCOCK, Aide to the Senate State Affairs Committee and                
 Senator Loren Leman, states SB 237 was introduced to address the              
 problem law enforcement agencies are having with juvenile weapons             
 possessions and with the misuse of weapons by juveniles.  SB 237              
 will require parental permission for the possession of a firearm by           
 juveniles under eighteen years of age, and also that the minor be             
 accompanied by a parent or guardian when purchasing a firearm.                
 Penalties for violations would include, in addition to existing               
 penalties, driver's license suspension for one year on the first              
 offense, and driver's license suspension for two years plus one               
 hundred hours of community service on the second offense.  There              
 are exceptions, those are delineated in the bill.  They include               
 shooting competitions, marksmanship, hunting and gun safety                   
 courses, lawful hunting and other outdoor activities.  The proposed           
 committee substitute also includes changes to procedures regarding            
 juveniles who commit crimes with firearms.                                    
                                                                               
 Number 064                                                                    
                                                                               
 MS. BABCOCK states the committee substitute for SB 237 also                   
 includes establishment of a permitting system for the carrying of             
 concealed weapons by qualified, law-abiding citizens.  Thirty-three           
 other states in the U.S. have concealed carrying permitting                   
 systems.                                                                      
                                                                               
 Number 070                                                                    
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN LEMAN asks Ms. Babcock if the bill intends to exempt                 
 organized practice connected to a specific event and unorganized              
 practice not connected with a specific event.                                 
                                                                               
 Number 088                                                                    
                                                                               
 MS. BABCOCK thinks the intent of SB 237 is that the practice be in            
 an area or rifle range where practice would normally take place.              
 However, she is not certain and will check with Jack Chenoweth, the           
 drafter of the legislation.                                                   
                                                                               
 Number 134                                                                    
                                                                               
 SENATOR ELLIS asks if the Alaska State Troopers have a position on            
 SB 237.                                                                       
                                                                               
 Number 136                                                                    
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN LEMAN asks Sergeant Crawford if the Alaska State Troopers            
 will be providing a position on SB 237, or if they plan to remain             
 neutral on the bill.                                                          
                                                                               
 Number 138                                                                    
                                                                               
 SERGEANT RANDY CRAWFORD, Alaska State Troopers, testifying from               
 Anchorage, says it is his understanding the Alaska State Troopers             
 will be available for the committee meeting Friday, February 11,              
 1994, and will provide a position at that time.                               
 CHAIRMAN LEMAN announce the committee will return to SB 237                   
 (WEAPONS POSSESSION/SALE BY/TO MINORS).  The chairman calls for               
 testimony on SB 237.                                                          
                                                                               
 Number 353                                                                    
                                                                               
 SCOTT CORYELL, Class I Federal Firearms license holder, testifying            
 from Ketchikan, supports SB 237.  He did have some concerns about             
 sales of firearms to minors, but it appears his concerns have been            
 addressed.  He urges passage of SB 237.                                       
                                                                               
                                                                               
 Number 362                                                                    
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN LEMAN thanks Mr. Coryell for his testimony and assures him           
 that SB 237 will not have a problem passing from the Senate State             
 Affairs Committee.  The chairman calls the next witness.                      
                                                                               
 Number 365                                                                    
                                                                               
 MIKE McCARTHY, Representing the Kodiak Juvenile Task Force - formed           
 to address juvenile violence, Kodiak Police Officer, School Liaison           
 Officer, DARE Officer, testifying from Kodiak, says Kodiak                    
 represents a diverse population, which causes tension due to                  
 cultural differences, in addition to tensions caused by people                
 coming into the community from gang areas outside the state.  The             
 Kodiak School District and the Kodiak Police Department are                   
 striving to insure the school environment is maintained as having             
 zero tolerance for violence.  Mr. McCarthy states the Kodiak                  
 Juvenile Task Force is supportive of SB 237, particularly the                 
 provision for forfeiture of driver's licenses for violations of the           
 law.  Part of the DARE lesson plan is knowing what the consequences           
 of your actions will be.  He also draws the committee's attention             
 to the Federal Gun-Free School Zone Act of 1990.  He believes The             
 State of Alaska is in arrears in incorporating this law into Alaska           
 Statute.  Mr. McCarthy notes the discrepancy in state statute                 
 classifying the carrying of a firearm in school as a class B                  
 misdemeanor, while carrying a switchblade, a gravity knife, or a              
 set of brass knuckles is classified as a class A misdemeanor.                 
                                                                               
 Number 396                                                                    
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN LEMAN thanks Officer McCarthy for his testimony and calls            
 the next witness.                                                             
                                                                               
 Number 403                                                                    
                                                                               
 OLIVER BURRIS, a firearms instructor (primarily of juveniles),                
 testifying from Fairbanks, has questions about SB 237.  Mr. Burris            
 wants to know if he will need written permission from the parent or           
 guardian for instructing juveniles and or taking juveniles on                 
 informal hunting trips.  And if SB 237 would affect activities                
 taking place on a private shooting range.                                     
                                                                               
 Number 416                                                                    
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN LEMAN says he will try to answer Mr. Burris's questions.             
 He states the two requirements of SB 237 are to have either                   
 parental permission for that activity, or, if Mr. Burris is acting            
 in his official capacity as a gun safety instructor, then those two           
 exceptions would qualify that activity.                                       
                                                                               
                                                                               
 Number 421                                                                    
                                                                               
 MR. BURRIS asks, if he were to meet with a juvenile at a particular           
 location to go hunting, if the juvenile would be at risk of                   
 violating SB 237 while in transit to meeting the adult at the                 
 hunting location if the juvenile was unaccompanied while in                   
 transit.                                                                      
                                                                               
 Number 427                                                                    
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN LEMAN asks Mr. Burris if he has the committee substitute             
 for SB 237 in front of him.  Mr. Burris responds that he does not             
 have the committee substitute, just the original bill.  The                   
 chairman replies he will make explanations from the original bill,            
 since Mr. Burris does not have a copy of the proposed committee               
 substitute.  On page 3, line 21, paragraph (6) of SB 237 identifies           
 as an exception travelling to or from any activity described in               
 paragraphs (1) through (5).                                                   
                                                                               
 Number 437                                                                    
                                                                               
 MR. BURRIS thanks the chairman for clarifying that exception.  He             
 asks if the proposed cs for SB 237 addresses concealed carrying of            
 firearms.  Chairman Leman replies that the proposed cs does address           
 concealed carry, however, the committee has not yet formally                  
 adopted the committee substitute.  Mr. Burris notes he favors a               
 provision for registering individuals to carry a concealed weapon.            
 He favors registration not necessarily of the concealed firearm,              
 but of the individual carrying the firearm.  He also would support            
 a modest fee to cover registration expenses and thanks the                    
 committee for considering the carrying of concealed weapons.                  
                                                                               
 Number 453                                                                    
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN LEMAN thanks Mr. Burris for his testimony and calls the              
 next witness.                                                                 
                                                                               
 Number 454                                                                    
                                                                               
 TOM SCARBOROUGH, testifying from Fairbanks, says provision in law             
 for concealed carry is long overdue.  However, SB 237 seems overly            
 restrictive in regards to carrying of firearms by juveniles.  He              
 thinks there will be times, particularly in bush Alaska, when there           
 will not be a parent or guardian available to give permission to              
 the juvenile to handle a firearm.  He is also concerned about what            
 can legally be done while travelling to and from and activity.  If            
 a juvenile stops at McDonald's on the way to an activity without              
 permission from McDonald's, would that be in violation of the                 
 provisions in SB 237?  Mr. Scarborough thinks maybe the juvenile              
 should be allowed to also get consent from a person other than the            
 juvenile's parent or guardian.                                                
                                                                               
 Number 474                                                                    
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN LEMAN states that, for Mr. Scarborough's first question,             
 permission from a parent that covers more than one specific                   
 activity would certainly qualify, say if the child has a permission           
 slip from the parent giving the juvenile general permission to use            
 a firearm.  The juvenile would not necessarily need permission for            
 each specific instance or activity.                                           
                                                                               
 Number 481                                                                    
                                                                               
 MR. SCARBOROUGH asks the chairman if he is saying a juvenile will             
 need to carry a card giving him or her permission to carry a                  
 firearm.  The chairman responds the committee hasn't clarified that           
 possibility yet, and he is not sure how regulations implementing SB           
 237 will be adopted, but that may be a possibility.  Mr.                      
 Scarborough states he is finished with his testimony so the                   
 chairman calls the next witness.                                              
                                                                               
 Number 489                                                                    
                                                                               
 LAURA JANE WINEIGER, firearms safety instructor, NRA staff for                
 Alaska, testifying from Anchorage, thanks the Senate State Affairs            
 Committee for their work on the proposed cs for SB 237.  She likes            
 both aspects of the bill: provision to register carrying of                   
 concealed weapons and restrictions for juveniles carrying weapons.            
 NRA policy recognizes that there should be certain restrictions on            
 minors in regards to firearms.  There are currently no laws on the            
 books which adequately deal with the criminal misuse of firearms by           
 juveniles.  This bill would help solve that problem, while                    
 continuing to allow ample opportunity for youngsters to pursue                
 lawful shooting and hunting activity.                                         
                                                                               
 Ms. Wineiger states the concealed carry permit system is direly               
 needed in the state for the protection of its' citizens from crime.           
 She lists several crime statistics for Alaska.  She claims it is              
 unreasonable to expect a businessman or businesswoman to walk                 
 through town with a handgun strapped around the hip.  Ms. Wineiger            
 has taught personal safety firearms classes for many years, and               
 when women in the classes find out that they have no means to carry           
 their weapons other than in an external holster, they are                     
 astounded.  These women do not consider it safe to go around                  
 carrying a holstered gun.  Ms. Wineiger thanks the committee for              
 their help.                                                                   
                                                                               
 Number 541                                                                    
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN LEMAN thanks Ms. Wineiger for her testimony.  The chairman           
 announces that the bill will again be heard in committee on Friday,           
 February 11, 1994.  If people have further testimony at that time,            
 or wish to listen in, they may do so.  The chairman asks if there             
 is anyone else wishing to testify at this time.  Hearing none, he             
 calls for a recess while the committee waits for Mr. Sandler to               
 join the meeting via teleconference.                                          
                                                                               
 Number 548                                                                    
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN LEMAN calls the Senate State Affairs Committee meeting               
 back to order at 10:00 a.m.  The chairman calls Mr. Craig Sandler             
 to testify.                                                                   
                                                                               
 Number 554                                                                    
                                                                               
 CRAIG SANDLER, Director, Law Enforcement Activities for the NRA,              
 former Police Chief in Nashua NH, testifying from Washington, DC,             
 says that while he was the Police Chief in Nashua, Nashua had a               
 concealed weapons policy for at least twenty-two years.  He states            
 it is not his intent to tell the state of Alaska how it should do             
 things, but merely to convey a case-study of positive things which            
 can happen as a result of allowing lawful citizens of a community             
 to carry concealed weapons.  While Chief of Police, he personally             
 issued thousands of permits without incident.  During a twelve year           
 period of time he personally had to rescind two permits.  During              
 1993 there was not one homicide in Nashua with a firearm, in spite            
 of having thousands of concealed weapons permits.  This was found             
 to be true in other areas also, such as Florida.                              
                                                                               
 Mr. Sandler states the NRA also supports the other part of the bill           
 regulating juveniles carrying weapons.  The NRA agrees no juvenile            
 should have a gun in school, with the exception of range-type                 
 activities such as marksmanship and gun safety and hunter safety              
 courses.                                                                      
                                                                               
 TAPE 94-7, SIDE B                                                             
 Number 582                                                                    
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN LEMAN thanks Mr. Sandler for his testimony and states the            
 Alaska State Troopers will provide their position on Friday,                  
 February 11, 1994.  The chairman believes the troopers will be                
 concerned with vigilante justice occurring and asks Mr. Sandler if            
 he has had experience with that type of problem.                              
                                                                               
 Number 574                                                                    
                                                                               
 MR. SANDLER says in his experiences there were no problems with               
 vigilante justice type occurrences in Nashua.  In fact, he believes           
 an advantage of permitting persons to carry concealed weapons is              
 that persons submitting to permitting are law-abiding citizens and            
 that rapport can be established between the police and the                    
 permittees during the permitting process.  He understands that                
 concern, but that problem did not occur in Nashua.                            
                                                                               
                                                                               
 Number 566                                                                    
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN LEMAN asks Mr. Sandler what requirements existed for                 
 receiving a permit in Nashua.                                                 
                                                                               
 Number 563                                                                    
                                                                               
 MR. SANDLER replies the requirements were essentially a criminal              
 record check, finger-printing, a photograph, and a waiting period             
 to enable the police department to check in-house and federal                 
 records.  There was no requirement for proof of competency in                 
 firearms use, although Mr. Sandler does not oppose that type of               
 requirement.                                                                  
                                                                               
 Number 556                                                                    
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN LEMAN thanks Mr. Sandler for his testimony and asks if               
 anyone else wishes to testify.  Hearing none, he announces that SB            
 237 will be held over until the committee meeting Friday, February            
 11, 1994.  Also on the agenda for Friday is SB 267 and SB 216.                

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