Legislature(1997 - 1998)
03/25/1997 03:33 PM STA
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
SENATE STATE AFFAIRS COMMITTEE March 25, 1997 3:33 p.m. MEMBERS PRESENT Senator Lyda Green, Chairman Senator Jerry Ward, Vice-chair Senator Mike Miller Senator Jim Duncan MEMBERS ABSENT Senator Jerry Mackie COMMITTEE CALENDAR SENATE BILL NO. 141 "An Act relating to permits to carry concealed handguns; and relating to the possession of firearms." PASSED CSSB 141 (STA) OUT OF COMMITTEE SENATE BILL NO. 105 "An Act relating to legislative ethics; relating to the filing of disclosures by certain legislative employees and officials; and providing for an effective date." PASSED CSSB 105 (STA) OUT OF COMMITTEE SENATE BILL NO. 42 "An Act relating to the fiscal operations of the Alaska Railroad Corporation and to land acquired by the State of Alaska under the Alaska Railroad Transfer Act of 1982 or otherwise acquired for railroad purposes; and providing for an effective date." SCHEDULED BUT NOT HEARD SENATE BILL NO. 116 "An Act relating to welfare to work tax credits under the Alaska Net Income Tax Act; and providing for an effective date." SCHEDULED BUT NOT HEARD SENATE BILL NO. 21 "An Act relating to ferries and ferry terminals, establishing the Alaska Marine Highway Authority, and relating to maintenance of state marine vessels; and providing for an effective date." SCHEDULED BUT NOT HEARD PREVIOUS SENATE COMMITTEE ACTION SB 141- No previous Senate committee action. SB 105 - See State Affairs minutes dated 3/11/97, 3/13/97 and 3/18/97. SB 42 - See Senate Transportation Committee minutes dated 2/20/97. SB 116 - No previous Senate committee action. SB 21 - See Senate Transportation Committee minutes dated 2/18/97 and 3/6/97 and Senate State Affairs minutes dated 3/18/97. WITNESS REGISTER Del Smith Deputy Commissioner Department of Public Safety P.O. Box 111200 Juneau, AK 99811-1200 POSITION STATEMENT: Commented on SB 141 Tuckerman Babcock Legislative Aide to Senator Green Alaska State Capitol Juneau, AK 99801-1182 POSITION STATEMENT: Provided sectional analysis of CSSB 141(STA) Dean Guaneli Assistant Attorney General Department of Law P.O. Box 110300 Juneau, AK 99811-0300 POSITION STATEMENT: Opposed to CSSB 141(STA) Lauree Hugonin Executive Director Alaska Network on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault 130 Seward, Rm. 501 Juneau, AK 99801 POSITION STATEMENT: Discussed concerns with CSSB 141(STA) Terry Cramer Legislative Legal and Research Services Legislative Affairs Agency 130 Seward St., Suite 409 Juneau, AK 99801-2105 POSITION STATEMENT: Answered questions on SB 105 Mike McMullen Division of Personnel Dept. of Administration P.O. Box 110201 Juneau, AK 99811-0201 POSITION STATEMENT: Commented on SB 105 Neil Slotnick Assistant Attorney General Department of Law P.O. Box 110300 Juneau, AK 99811-0300 POSITION STATEMENT: Opposed to Amendment 1 to SB 105 ACTION NARRATIVE TAPE 97-13, SIDE A Number 00 CHAIRMAN LYDA GREEN called the Senate State Affairs Committee meeting to order at 3:33 p.m. Present were Senators Green, Ward and Miller. Senator Duncan arrived at 3:35 p.m. Chair Green announced SB 21 was withdrawn from today's calendar at the sponsor's request, and would be heard on Thursday. The first order of business before the committee was SB 141. Chair Green announced a committee substitute was prepared for SB 141 and Tuckerman Babcock would explain the changes made. SB 141 CONCEALED HANDGUN PERMITS TUCKERMAN BABCOCK , legislative aide to Senator Green, sponsor of SB 141, read the following statement. "SB 141 was introduced by Senator Green as part of the general focus toward a smaller, smarter government with less bureaucracy and more clarity for citizens with the law. The intent of SB 141 is simple: There is no reason the permitted few should be more restricted than the unregulated many. Treat people and their handguns equally. All Alaskans, who are not otherwise prohibited by federal or state law from owning or possessing handguns, can carry handguns openly in certain places and can carry concealed without a permit in certain places. If 300,000 adult Alaskans can legally carry a handgun openly, there is no reason to have greater restrictions for the 6,000 Alaskans who have been fingerprinted, checked, trained and permitted." Mr. Babcock noted copies of the memo from Senator Lyda Green including a sectional analysis and description of the committee substitute were made available to the audience. SENATOR WARD moved to adopt CSSB 141(STA). Without objection, CHAIRMAN GREEN asked for an explanation of the committee substitute. Mr. Babcock read the following. "There have been almost 6,000 permits issued in Alaska for carrying concealed handguns since that right was recognized in state law in 1994. The Department of Public Safety has done a remarkable job of ensuring fair and speedy processing of applications. However, Alaskans have voiced some complaints on overly restrictive and confusing prohibitions and regulations leading to a burdensome waste of time. Many of these stipulations were included in the original legislation due to courteous consideration of the dire predictions of mayhem in the streets from some members of the legal community and law enforcement. None of those dire predictions has proven accurate during years of experience and it is appropriate to restore equal rights for law-abiding citizens. For the most part, the law is working. Crime is down. According to the information we have from the Department of Public Safety, of 6,000 permittees, not one person has used their concealed handgun to commit a crime. Similar legislation (SB 177) passed last session by large majorities but was vetoed by the Governor. Even though legislation last year prohibited anyone from drinking and carrying a concealed handgun, some felt that whether one was drinking or not, no concealed handguns should be allowed in bars. In the spirit of compromise, we have drafted SB 141 to allow concealed handguns in restaurants regulated under AS 04.16.049 but not in bars. This bill does not change other state law restricting carrying handguns in bars or schools. All the other existing laws restricting handguns in bars and schools remain in force. If SB 141 is passed, the simple effect would be that anywhere you can carry a handgun openly (which you can do without training, without background checks, without fingerprinting, and without a permit) you will be able to carry a permitted concealed handgun. The existing law is too restrictive, too confusing, too expensive. For example, under current law you are prohibited from walking into a financial institution with a permitted concealed handgun, but you are allowed to take the handgun out and carry it openly into the bank. Existing law too often turns common sense on its head. Sections 1,2, and 9 of the bill make several things much clearer and easier to enforce. If a person is a concealed permit holder from another state and comes to Alaska, we will recognize that permit. However, that person is responsible for following the laws regulating Alaskan permit holders. In addition, Section 12 requires that the visitor must, within 90 days, inform the Department of Public Safety of their presence so that, just as with Alaska permit holder, the Department knows who is allowed to carry concealed handguns in Alaska. These amendments simply recognize equality of Americans as requested by SJR 14, which supports legislation in the U.S. Congress seeking nationwide recognition of concealed carry permits issued by any government agency or subdivision. Sections 1 and 2 improve definitions and still attempt to permit a municipality or village to prohibit possession of concealed handguns. Sections 2 does not change existing law making bars off limits to concealed handguns, but does allow access to restaurants identified under AS 04.16.049. If the Alcohol Beverage Control Board finds that a business, or a specific area of a business, is not a bar you will be allowed to carry a concealed handgun. Sections 3 and 6 ensure that the applicant for a permit receives a copy of state law and regulations and certifies the applicant read them. Section 4 requires the Department to process the permit if the permittee is otherwise eligible without having to wait for weeks or months for the F.B.I. to complete fingerprinting checks. The Department is given authority to immediately revoke a conditional permit whenever it receives information from checking fingerprinting making the permittee ineligible. This conforms statute to what we are told is actually being done in practice. Section 5 simplifies for law enforcement, and for citizens, the standards for qualifications to apply for a permit. Under existing law, in order to carry openly, you must be 21 years of age or older and be allowed by state or federal law to own or possess a handgun. Under existing state law, in order to carry concealed during recreation activities, in your dwelling, in your business, where you are employed, or on land owned or leased by the person, you must be 16, and you must be allowed by state and federal law to own or possess a firearm. Under existing law, in order to carry concealed in other places than those mentioned above, you must acquire a permit. If SB 141 is passed, in order to do that you must be 21, you must be allowed by state and federal law to own or possess a handgun, you must be a 90 day resident of the state immediately preceding your application for a concealed handgun permit, you must receive training and education, and you must demonstrate competence with a handgun. A restrictive laundry list of prohibitions for the fingerprinted, trained, permitted carriers make little sense when state law allows you to carry openly in those places and federal and state law already address who may own or possess a handgun. Section 7 reduces the fees from $125 to $99 for the initial application and from $60 to $30 for renewal or replacement to better reflect the true cost. This is the cost the Department informs us would be the actual approximate cost of processing the permit. Section 8 amends language to clearly give the authority to immediately suspend permits for anyone who is ineligible under state or federal law to own or possess a handgun. Section 10 repeals a long list of special prohibitions that don't apply to open carry or, in some cases, to concealed carry unpermitted. Instead there is a flat prohibition for possession of a concealed handgun wherever federal or state law prohibits possession of a handgun. Section 11 sets up a cascading penalty system beginning with an infraction subject to a fine, and subsequent offenses being a class B misdemeanor and the third time (or more) a class A misdemeanor. Section 12 simplifies definitions so that shotguns, rifles, and weapons prohibited under AS 11.61.200 would not qualify for the concealed carry permit. Otherwise, just as in every other state, any handgun not otherwise prohibited by state or federal law is treated equally. That, Madam Chairman, is a description of the committee substitute for SB 141." Number 188 CHAIRMAN GREEN commented that the Alaska Outdoor Council, Randy Smith of Mountainview, who is involved with the Citizens Take Back the Streets group, and Bob Parkerson, a Second Amendment Rights advocate, expressed concerned that anyone could receive permission to carry a concealed weapon without the training and permitting requirements, so Section 5 of SB 141 was removed which would allow automatic issuance of a permit to a victim of domestic violence. Just for the record, the State of California has that provision. Number 206 SENATOR DUNCAN asked for an explanation of Section 2. MR. BABCOCK stated the current prohibition is AS 11.61.220, misconduct involving weapons, and (a)(2) is knowingly possesses a loaded firearm on one's person in any place where intoxicating beverages are sold for consumption on the premises. Section 2 would amend current law so that concealed weapons could be carried into those establishments that are identified as restaurants, not bars, by the Alcohol Beverage Control Board. SENATOR DUNCAN clarified Section 2 allows concealed handguns to be carried into restaurants that serve liquor, but not into a bar. MR. BABCOCK said that is right. SENATOR DUNCAN asked whether Section 4 directs the Department of Public Safety (DPS) to issue a permit within a 15-day time period even if the fingerprint check has not been received. MR. BABCOCK replied that is correct. He explained DPS would have had the opportunity to do a background check and could deny the applicant on that basis. CHAIR GREEN stated DPS has been doing that already. Number 238 SENATOR DUNCAN asked for clarification of Section 10. MR. BABCOCK explained AS 18.65.775 contains a lengthy list of specific places a permittee may not possess a concealed handgun. Section 10 applies limitations to people who carry concealed handguns in the same way those limitations are applied to people who carry handguns openly. Permittees would be prohibited from carrying a handgun any place a handgun is prohibited under any state or federal law. SENATOR DUNCAN clarified current statute lists 13 or 14 places where a concealed weapon cannot be carried; Section 10 repeals that list and says that concealed weapons cannot be carried anywhere that is prohibited by federal or state law. He questioned whether anyone could provide a list of the places prohibited by other state and federal laws. MR. BABCOCK replied that Jerry Luckhaupt, Legal Counsel, provided that information in committee packets. Mr. Babcock said the limitations are listed in AS 11.61.220. SENATOR DUNCAN asked if there are prohibitions under current state and federal law that will be deleted if CSSB 141(STA) passes. MR. BABCOCK replied, "yes, that would be the effect. Currently carrying a handgun openly into a bank is not currently prohibited in state law but carrying a permitted concealed handgun is prohibited in state law. Rather than force a situation where an untrained, no background-check person can walk into a bank - and that person is not limited in anyway by state law - but the person who applies for a permit and has been fingerprinted and undergone a background check and received some training is prohibited from going to the bank - doesn't make much sense - it doesn't treat Alaskans fairly. So this would apply the limitation about carrying handguns equally to those carrying openly and those carrying concealed." Number 284 SENATOR DUNCAN asked for other examples. MR. BABCOCK replied ther would be no prohibition on carrying concealed weapons in domestic violence facilities, state offices, and financial institutions but private facilities could put up signs prohibiting firearms on that property. SENATOR DUNCAN asked Chair Green whether her staff could provide him with a list of the places that will change if CSSB 141(STA) passes. MR. BABCOCK noted the list is in AS 11.61.220. SENATOR DUNCAN asked Mr. Babcock to review the provisions being repealed in the bill. MR. BABCOCK explained AS 18.65.715 and .725(a)(3) are the requirements to take another test before a renewal for a handgun permit is issued. SENATOR DUNCAN asked if .715(b) applies to the original permit or to the renewal. MR. BABCOCK replied it is for a renewal. SENATOR DUNCAN affirmed the applicant would still be required to take a competency test and course before receiving the initial permit. MR. BABCOCK agreed. SENATOR DUNCAN asked about AS 18.65.748. MR. BABCOCK answered tha deals with permit revocation and is directly related to the sections repealed. SENATOR DUNCAN asked for clarification. MR. BABCOCK said, "That is a subsection in .740, (a)(2), related to the repeal of the .65.705 provision so, if those were repealed, it wouldn't have any applicability." SENATOR DUNCAN asked about the repeal of AS 18.65.755 (b)-(c). MR. BABCOCK explained .755 pertains to special restrictions. Number 336 SENATOR DUNCAN noted AS 11.61.220 is the statute that lists the places where weapons cannot be carried openly, or under this bill, concealed. MR. BABCOCK agreed and added it would also deal with where you can currently carry concealed weapons without permits, which includes places where one is involved in an outdoor activity such as hunting, fishing, trapping, on one's own land, or at a business that serves alcohol if one is employed by that business. SENATOR DUNCAN asked if the alcohol facility provision is different from current law. MR. BABCOCK answered it is not, and that is part of the confusion this bill is trying to address. SENATOR DUNCAN asked if a copy of the federal law was available. MR. BABCOCK answered the federal law is 18 U.S. Code 922. He explained the federal law prohibits possession of a handgun if one: has been convicted in any court of a crime punishable by imprisonment of a term exceeding one year; is a fugitive from justice; is an unlawful user or addicted to any controlled substance; has been adjudicated a mental defective or committed to a mental institution; is an alien who is illegally or unlawfully in the United States; was dishonorably discharged from the armed forces; was once a U.S. citizen but denounced that citizenship; or is subject to a court order involving domestic violence. Number 366 SENATOR DUNCAN felt it would be clearer to list the prohibitions in statute so that permittees would know where concealed weapons could not be carried. MR. BABCOCK responded it would be clearest if DPS only has to provide a copy of the federal law to permittees. CHAIR GREEN noted the current statute encourages a person to openl carry a gun rather than to conceal one because it is legal to openly carry guns in more places. MR. BABCOCK said SB 141 directs DPS to provide a copy of applicable state laws to permittees. He suggested amending the bill to include a copy of the federal law, but explained that law applies to who can carry a concealed weapon, rather than where. Number 406 DEL SMITH , Deputy Commissioner of DPS, stated DPS has made an effort to work with Senator Green's staff to make SB 141 workable, but did not have adequate time to review the committee substitute. Since January of 1995, copies of all regulations and statutes that deal with concealed handguns have been distributed to permit holders so that requirement will not pose any problems. His concerns with the bill are as follows. The 15-day turnaround time is problematic. DPS currently has a 30-day turnaround time because the FBI is unable to respond to requests in a short time frame. DPS does a state fingerprint check and if it finds nothing, and there are no indications from a national name search that there is reason to believe an applicant has a criminal background, the permit is issued. If information that is eventually received from the FBI is contrary, the permit is revoked. To his knowledge, that has never occurred. The BATF sent the department and the State a letter awhile ago that said under Alaska's statute, one could use the concealed handgun permit to buy instantly in a gun store, without waiting to go through the complete check, so Alaska does have a Brady waiver. He is concerned that statutory changes could affect what ATS does regarding Alaska's Brady waiver on the handgun permitting process. There is no way DPS will ever receive fingerprint background check information from the FBI within 15 days. Number 439 CHAIR GREEN asked if this same provision was in the bill last year. MR. SMITH said it was and he expressed the same concern. CHAIR GREEN asked Mr. Smith how he would prefer that provision to read. MR. SMITH replied DPS is processing permits more quickly now and will continue to do so, but is doing so administratively. He cautioned if that requirement is placed in statute, BATF may change its position because its approval is based on the existing concealed handgun statute. CHAIR GREEN asked if Mr. Smith had prepared an amendment. MR. SMITH said he did not, and did not know what would comport with federal law. He emphasized he was pointing out a potential problem. Number 458 SENATOR DUNCAN asked if DPS uses a 15-day turnaround time period through administrative procedures now. MR. SMITH replied the process takes about 30 days. During that 30 days, state record checks, state fingerprint checks, and the paperwork is completed. SENATOR DUNCAN asked if DPS feels assured an adequate background check can be done within 15 days using state records to issue permits. MR. SMITH answered he believes it can be accomplished within 15 days however, he repeated DPS' concern is whether a statutory change will affect Alaska's Brady waiver. MR. SMITH continued addressing DPS' concerns with SB 141. The section regarding out-of-state recognition of concealed handgun permits is of concern because Alaska's permitting process requires permittees to meet certain standards; some states have lower standards and Vermont has none. He suggested Alaska's standards are the reason none of its 6,000 permittees have ever used a concealed handgun in the commission of a crime. Last year he suggested, during hearings on SB 177, that DPS enter into agreements with other states and require Alaska's level of standards as the baseline for reciprocity. DPS remains opposed to allowing a permittee to carry a concealed weapon into bars or establishments that serve only alcohol. Section 2 allows permittees to carry concealed weapons into a restaurant that serves alcohol. Mr. Smith said DPS does not have a problem with a permittee carrying a concealed weapon into a restaurant that serves alcohol when having a bite to eat, but the department still believes the permittee should not be allowed to drink alcohol while carrying a concealed weapon because a person's judgment is the first thing affected. CHAIR GREEN asked if that prohibition is in current statute. MR. SMITH replied that statute reads a little differently and prohibits a person from using a firearm after having a couple of drinks. MR. SMITH continued. Section 3 requires DPS to provide copies of Alaska's laws to applicants. DPS does so, and will continue to do so. Section 7 deals with who a permit can be issued to. There are any number of offenses a person can be convicted of which precludes one from getting a permit. He noted the caliber of people who apply for permits is high and is the main reason permittees are not causing problems. DPS has rejected 33 applicants because of criminal history and 18 permits have been revoked during the last two years. SENATOR DUNCAN asked Mr. Smith to elaborate on Section 7. MR. SMITH said Section 7 removes a lot of the violations or convictions that were placed in the original law that preclude an applicant from getting a permit. DPS is concerned about potential problems that may arise if people who have been convicted of certain offenses can qualify for permits. He repeated current permittees are law-abiding citizens which is why very few problems exist with this program. MR. SMITH said Section 10 decreases the permit fee to $99. The current fee is set at $122 - $125. DPS has committed to making every effort to issue permits for $99, but the amount charged depends on the volume. Only 1500 permits were issued in the past year and the cost of issuing those was estimated at $141 each. If the volume does not increase, DPS will need general funds to cover the cost of administering permits. MR. SMITH noted he faxed SB 141 to the Alaska Peace Officers, the Anchorage Police Department, and the Alaska Association of Chiefs of Police, so that those organizations could comment directly to the committee via teleconference. CHAIR GREEN stated the committee has received a lot of comments from those groups and others that DPS has contacted. SENATOR DUNCAN asked Mr. Smith to address Section 10 of the committee substitute which removes the reference to the statutory list of places where a concealed handgun cannot be carried. MR. SMITH replied he has not had a chance to fully assess that change in approach. One federal prohibition that he was aware of includes restricted areas in airports and he assumed jails would fall under the prohibition. Number 564 CHAIR GREEN clarified schools, prisons, and airports are prohibited areas under federal law. SENATOR DUNCAN expressed concern that Section 10 is not clear to DPS or to the public, and he believed the current law is easier to reference because it contains a list of areas where permittees cannot carry concealed weapons. CHAIR GREEN said another approach would be to talk about places where guns can be carried openly under current law. CHAIR GREEN asked how many of the 33 applications that were rejected would qualify under CSSB 141 (STA). SENATOR WARD asked during what time period the 33 applicants were rejected. MR. SMITH said the 33 applicants were rejected over the two-year time period since the program has been operating. Of those 33, four applicants received treatment for alcoholism, one had a history of mental problems, and one was a non-resident. He could not cite the reasons for the other rejections. CHAIR GREEN stated she was impressed with the thoroughness of the federal standard and found it nearly all-inclusive when she compared it with Alaska's standard. SENATOR DUNCAN asked if, under the committee substitute, a permittee is prohibited from carrying a concealed handgun in a law enforcement or correctional facility. MR. SMITH said all law enforcement officials check their weapons when entering correctional facilities. It is his understanding that only police officers can enter a law enforcement facility with a concealed weapon. SENATOR DUNCAN asked if carrying concealed weapons on school grounds or a school bus is currently prohibited under state law. MR. SMITH thought that it is. TAPE 97-13, SIDE B Number 548 SENATOR DUNCAN asked if one can carry a concealed weapon into a court house under current law. MR. SMITH was unsure. SENATOR DUNCAN asked if the current prohibition extends to state, federal, and municipal buildings. MR. SMITH replied it does. SENATOR DUNCAN questioned whether airline passenger terminals and marine highway vessels fall under the prohibition. MR. SMITH said yes. SENATOR DUNCAN asked if facilities providing services to victims of domestic violence or sexual assault are prohibited areas. MR. SMITH said yes. SENATOR DUNCAN clarified he was reading from the present concealed handgun statute and was asking Mr. Smith if the same prohibitions exist in other statutes. He explained he was trying to figure out whether the same prohibitions will exist if the current concealed handgun law is repealed. SENATOR DUNCAN repeated the same questions and asked Mr. Smith, if the concealed handgun law is repealed, whether prohibitions against carrying a concealed weapon in a law enforcement or correctional facility exist elsewhere in state law. MR. SMITH answered he believes it is prohibited in a correctional facility but he was not sure about the law enforcement facility. SENATOR DUNCAN asked about school grounds or a school bus. MR. SMITH was not aware of a specific prohibition. SENATOR DUNCAN asked about the court house or court room. MR. SMITH was unaware. SENATOR DUNCAN asked about buildings housing only state or federal offices or a political subdivision of the state. MR. SMITH was unaware. SENATOR DUNCAN asked about the passenger areas of airline terminals. MR. SMITH believed that prohibition is in federal law. SENATOR DUNCAN asked about Alaska Marine Highway vessels. MR. SMITH did not think it would be prohibited. SENATOR DUNCAN asked about domestic violence facilities. MR. SMITH said he did not think other prohibitions exist. SENATOR DUNCAN asked about a private residence where a conspicuous notice has been posted. MR. SMITH thought a person could be arrested for trespassing in such a situation. SENATOR DUNCAN asked if, elsewhere in state law, one is prohibited from carrying a concealed weapon in a meeting of a business, charitable, or other organization or entity where notices are posted. MR. SMITH thought the trespass statute might apply in that situation also but he was not aware of a specific prohibition against carrying concealed weapons. SENATOR DUNCAN asked about a financial institution. MR. SMITH was not aware of any prohibition. SENATOR DUNCAN questioned whether other statutes prohibit carrying concealed weapons in municipalities or established villages that have enacted their own prohibitions. MR. SMITH said it is addressed in statute and noted Palmer has adopted a local ordinance. Number 518 SENATOR DUNCAN commented his questions and the responses clearly point out that this bill will remove almost all of the prohibitions because they are not prohibited elsewhere in statute. SENATOR MILLER noted Section 10 says a person may not possess a concealed handgun anywhere a person is prohibited from possessing a handgun under state or federal law. He referred to the list and asked whether a person can openly carry a handgun on a ferry. MR. SMITH was not sure, but assumed one cannot. SENATOR MILLER asked whether a person can openly carry a handgun in a courthouse. MR. SMITH was not aware of any law that prohibits one from doing so but did not know whether there is a prohibition in court rules. SENATOR MILLER emphasized the current system is illogical because it allows a person with no training to openly carry a handgun in many places that the 6,000 permittees who have received training and are regulated cannot carry concealed handguns. MR. SMITH said his testimony was directed toward DPS' analysis of the bill and he was not recommending State policy. Number 495 SENATOR DUNCAN repeated his concern that a lot of confusion about this bill exists and that adequate time be provided as it addresses a major policy issue. He asked if an organization, that is holding a meeting, could still post a notice prohibiting concealed handguns on the premises under this bill. MR. SMITH thought private businesses could do so, however he suggested getting a legal opinion. SENATOR DUNCAN asked about a non-profit business holding a meeting open to the public. MR. SMITH could not answer that question. CHAIR GREEN thought the more appropriate prohibition would be against carrying any firearm, whether concealed or openly. SENATOR DUNCAN asked Mr. Babcock if the provision in current law that prohibits carrying concealed handguns into a meeting of a business, charitable, or other organization or entity where a notice has been posted is provided for in the committee substitute. MR. BABCOCK answered that provision could be addressed by the trespass statute. He explained under current law a permittee could walk into the meeting, put the concealed weapon on his/her lap, and be acting legally. SENATOR DUNCAN asked Mr. Smith if he agreed with Mr. Babcock's analysis. MR. SMITH said he believed one could operate a business and establish rules prohibiting particular types of activities on its premises, such as drunkenness or carrying concealed weapons, not specifically through the concealed handgun statute, but through others. SENATOR DUNCAN asked Mr. Smith whether he thought the best approach is to specifically list prohibitions in one statute. MR. SMITH replied when he testified last year on this issue, he did not support any changes to the current program as it adequately addresses DPS' concerns. SENATOR DUNCAN asked Mr. Smith whether he thought the proposal in this bill will work better or worse. MR. SMITH thought the average citizen would find it easier to find all the information in one location. Number 435 DEAN GUANELI , Assistant Attorney General, Criminal Division, Department of Law (DOL), gave the following testimony. SB 141 sweeps aside a number of current legal protections regarding disqualifying factors for applicants with the idea that federal law or other state laws will provide the same protections. In reference to a previous statement made by Mr. Babcock related to federal disqualifiers, Mr. Guaneli said it is generally assumed that a person with a felony record would be prohibited from ever carrying a concealed weapon under federal law, but that is not true. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that state law overrides federal law regarding concealed handgun prohibitions. If, under state law, one can carry a firearm even though he/she has a felony record, there would be no federal prohibition. Second, people with lengthy misdemeanor records will not be prohibited from carrying concealed weapons under this bill. He has seen records of people with up to 30 misdemeanor convictions. Under CSSB 141(STA) those people could qualify for concealed handgun permits. CHAIR GREEN asked if the convicted felon could purchase a weapon and carry it openly. MR. GUANELI replied he/she could. CHAIR GREEN asked if the same would hold true for the person with a lengthy misdemeanor record. MR. GUANELI said yes. MR. GUANELI explained the other type of protections that would be swept away are the prohibitions against people who have been through recent treatment programs for alcoholism and/or drug abuse. MR. GUANELI disagreed with the sponsor's perception that there is no difference between carrying handguns openly and carrying concealed. CHAIR GREEN commented there is a similar freedom that is ensured; that is the right to bear arms. MR. GUANELI said the difference he sees between the two groups is that anyone can see a person who is carrying a firearm openly on the street and avoid that person more easily. If a person openly carries a firearm into a bank, security guards will be alerted to that fact simply because they do not want guns in a bank where there is a lot of money. Those same guards would have an equal amount of concern if they knew a person was carrying a concealed weapon into a bank. Number 375 CHAIR GREEN said the bank owners and operators she has heard from tend to support concealed or open carry. MR. GUANELI commented in a survey conducted by Senator Phillips, 60 percent of respondents were opposed to allowing people to carry concealed handguns into banks. That result indicates that the public feels more comfortable being in a bank knowing it is illegal to possess concealed handguns. CHAIR GREEN asked Mr. Guaneli to read the results from Senator Phillip's survey on the death penalty. MR. GUANELI did not have the results available. CHAIR GREEN said those surveys were very selectively used. Number 356 SENATOR MILLER commented that Mr. Guaneli is making the assumption that the same person that can now carry a weapon openly will be able to carry a concealed weapon without any training or a background check if this bill passes. MR. GUANELI clarified that the background check will not apply in the same way because persons with misdemeanor and felony records will be eligible for permits. SENATOR WARD said those same felons can openly carry a gun into a bank today, but cannot carry a concealed weapon. He guessed if surveyed, 70 percent of respondents would be opposed that. MR. GUANELI replied that situation may need to be addressed in another piece of legislation. The immediate question is whether people should be allowed to carry concealed weapons in the same places they are allowed to carry open weapons. He said if there is no difference between the two, there would be no need for any requirements to carry concealed weapons. MR. GUANELI discussed the reciprocity provision. Under current law, a resident or non-resident can legally carry a concealed handgun without a permit when engaged in any outdoor activities. He questioned in what other places they should be able to carry. CHAIR GREEN answered anywhere those people would choose to protect themselves. MR. GUANELI stated non-residents are not familiar with state laws. Regarding repealing the statute that lists the places concealed handguns cannot be carried, MR. GUANELI said although the criminal trespass statutes can be used to accomplish the same goal in certain places, that approach poses some difficulties. Those statutes differentiate between places open/not open to the public, which is not as effective as listing the specific places in one place. Mr. Guaneli thought there were good reasons the Legislature chose to create that list several years ago. Number 271 SENATOR DUNCAN asked Mr. Guaneli if the only way to enforce a prohibition against carrying concealed weapons in a domestic violence facility if AS 18.16.755 is repealed would be to charge the person with criminal trespass. MR. GUANELI replied that is correct. SENATOR DUNCAN asked if the same would hold true on school grounds or a school bus. MR. GUANELI answered there are currently other laws specific to carrying guns on school grounds however there is at least one bill that has been introduced to remove some of those restrictions. SENATOR DUNCAN asked Mr. Guaneli if he believes it is best to keep the restrictions listed in one place in the statutes. MR. GUANELI said he does. SENATOR DUNCAN asked Mr. Guaneli whether he has any concerns about the restaurant/bar exclusion. MR. GUANELI replied he shares Deputy Commissioner Smith's concern about people drinking alcohol when carrying a concealed handgun. Current law prohibits a person who is under the influence of intoxicating liquor from carrying a gun, but some judges require that the gun be exposed or used before they can be prosecuted. He said the current concealed weapon law prohibits a person from entering a place where alcohol is being served with a concealed weapon. CHAIR GREEN noted under CSSB 141(STA) a person could go into a restaurant that serves liquor with a concealed weapon and eat. SENATOR DUNCAN asked whether that person could drink liquor. MR. GUANELI said he did not see any prohibition in the bill, as drafted, against drinking liquor. Number 222 LAUREE HUGONIN , Executive Director of the Alaska Network on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault (ANDVSA), discussed three sections of concern in the committee substitute. Section 5(2) will allow people who have been convicted of crimes involving domestic violence to be eligible for a concealed weapon permit, therefore ANDVSA prefers the current state law. She noted last year, persons convicted of the crime of domestic violence were added to the list of those disqualified from getting a permit. CHAIR GREEN referred to 18 U.S.C. 922(g) and read the following: (8) who is subject to a court order that-- (A) was issued after a hearing of which such person received actual notice, and at which such person had an actual opportunity to participate; (B) restrains such person from harassing, stalking, threatening an intimate partner or such person or child of such intimate partner or person, or engaging in other conduct that would place an intimate partner in reasonable fear of bodily injury to the partner and child and (C)(i) includes a finding that such a person represents a creditable threat to the physical safety of such intimate partner or child; or (ii) by its terms explicitly prohibits the use, attempted use, or threatened use of physical force against such intimate partner or child that would reasonably be expected to cause bodily injury; or (9) who has been convicted in any court of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence. MS. HUGONIN stated it was her understanding that all of Section (8) is applicable to protective orders and that the misdemeanor crime of domestic violence in Section (9) does not include all of the criminal activity that is included in Alaska's domestic violence statute. She repeated her preference for the state law. CHAIR GREEN said all of the complaints being received in her office are based on the new federal law because it seems to be more onerous than the state law. MS. HUGONIN expressed concern that people who have been convicted of crimes involving domestic violence in this state, that do not fall under the federal law, will be eligible for a concealed weapon permit. MS. HUGONIN also expressed concern that although Section (8) applies to protective orders, it might not apply to ex parte orders. ANDVSA would prefer that the bill specifically list ex parte orders and require DPS to immediately suspend a permit if the permittee is the respondent in a protective order because not all protective orders include the prohibition against carrying firearms, concealed or openly. Regarding Section 10, MS. HUGONIN said the original bill required DPS to provide copies of the laws to applicants, and included facilities for domestic violence victims, which ANDVSA appreciated. Number 123 CHAIR GREEN stated she is discouraged that her staff made several attempts to share information with DPS during the previous four or five weeks, but DPS staff did not respond. MR. SMITH disputed that comment. SENATOR WARD moved CSSB 141(STA) from committee with individual recommendations and its accompanying fiscal notes. SENATOR DUNCAN objected because the committee substitute was not distributed early enough for adequate review by anyone, because of the concerns presented during the hearing, and specifically the repeal of the statute that lists specific places that are prohibited. A roll call vote was taken and the motion carried with Senators Green, Ward, and Miller voting in favor, and Senator Duncan voting against. SB 105 ETHICS/LOBBYING/CAMPAIGN FINANCE CHAIR GREEN announced the committee just received an amendment that includes the Executive Ethics Act under SB 105. That amendment was included in legislation last year that passed the Senate. SENATOR WARD moved to adopt the amendment (#1). There being no objection, the motion carried. SENATOR WARD moved CSSB 105 (STA) from committee with individual recommendations. CHAIR GREEN announced a second amendment was prepared that pertains to legislative employees. She asked Terry Cramer, Legislative Legal and Research Services, to explain the amendment. TAPE 97-14, SIDE A Number 000 TERRY CRAMER stated amendment #2 corrects an oversight and pertains how legislative employees who, for the first time, are employed at a Range 19 position and will be required to file financial disclosure statements. The general deadline is February 15 for Range 19 employees, however if an employee was a Range 15 and gets promoted to a Range 19 or above, the employee must file within 60 days. SENATOR WARD withdrew his motion to move CSSB 105(STA) from committee, and instead moved to adopt amendment #2. There being no objection, amendment #2 was adopted. SENATOR WARD moved CSSB 105(STA) out of committee with individual recommendations and accompanying fiscal notes. There being no objection, CSSB 105(STA) moved from the Senate State Affairs Committee with individual recommendations. Number 072 NEIL SLOTNICK , Assistant Attorney General, Department of Law, explained he is responsible for implementation of the Executive Branch Ethics Act and has served in that capacity for the past three years. He made the following comments. The Department of Law is opposed to Amendment #1. From his experience, he believes Amendment #1 is bad for state government and waters down an Act that has worked well for the last ten years. It makes the Act and more expensive to administer, and is unconstitutional. The Executive Branch is different from the Legislative Branch; if the Executive Branch Act needs amending, DOL is open to that, but does not know what problem this approach is trying to fix. As supervisor of all Ethics Act cases, he urged legislators to ask questions of him or the Personnel Board on decisions. He stated if the Legislature is critical of how DOL has handled ethics complaints, he would like to be informed. He emphasized that before changes are made to this Act, a record of problems needs to be established so that they can be addressed in another vehicle. He asked legislators to treat the Executive Branch Ethics Act as a separate subject, because mixing the two will complicate the Act. MIKE MCMULLEN , Director of the Division of Personnel, Department of Administration, stated he will distribute copies of Amendment #1 to the Personnel Board for their review and position. He asked if DOA's fiscal note is accompanying the bill. SENATOR MILLER answered it is, however CSSB 105 (STA) will be heard in the Senate Finance Committee and adequate time will be available to submit a new fiscal note. MR. MCMULLEN stated Amendment #1 will increase the Personnel Board's workload. The meeting was adjourned at 5:15 p.m.