Legislature(1993 - 1994)

02/17/1994 03:00 PM HES

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
txt
  HB 417 - POSSESSION OF FIREARMS IN SCHOOL LOCKERS                            
                                                                               
  Number 556                                                                   
                                                                               
  REP. BUNDE stated that HB 417 would give schools the                         
  statutory authority to define when lockers should be                         
  searched.  He stated that Section 2 provides that a two week                 
  notice or a perpetual notice must be posted if lockers are                   
  going to be searched, thereby the student's right to privacy                 
  is reasonably protected.  He then mentioned that San Diego,                  
  California, eliminated school lockers entirely, which lead                   
  to a large reduction in violence on campuses.  He said he                    
  had a CS for HB 417 and asked that it be adopted.                            
                                                                               
  Number 629                                                                   
  REP. B. DAVIS made a motion to adopt the CS for HB 417.                      
                                                                               
  Number 631                                                                   
                                                                               
  CHAIR TOOHEY, hearing no objections, stated that the                         
  CSHB 417 was adopted as the working draft.                                   
                                                                               
  Number 640                                                                   
                                                                               
  REP. BRICE stated that it is a greater offense to have a                     
  pair of brass knuckles on your person than it is to have a                   
  gun in school.  He wondered if that issue could be addressed                 
  in the bill.                                                                 
                                                                               
  Number 658                                                                   
                                                                               
  REP. BUNDE stated that AS 11.61.220 indicates that it is                     
  currently against the law to have guns in school lockers and                 
  that Section 1 in the CS amends the language to say "deadly                  
  weapon."  He then said that deadly weapon means:  "Any                       
  firearm or anything designed and capable of causing death or                 
  serious physical injury, including a knife, axe, club, metal                 
  knuckles, or explosives."                                                    
                                                                               
  Number 701                                                                   
                                                                               
  JERRY LUCKHAUPT, Attorney, Legislative Legal Counsel,                        
  Legislative Affairs Agency, answered legal questions                         
  pertaining to CSHB 417.  He stated that it is currently a                    
  crime, in the fourth degree, to possess, manufacture,                        
  transport, sell, or transfer metal knuckles, and is a Class                  
  A misdemeanor.   He then stated that when there are weapons                  
  involved in a fifth degree crime, possession of a firearm,                   
  or any other deadly weapon that is on school grounds, it                     
  becomes a Class B misdemeanor.  He said the definition of                    
  deadly weapon does include metal knuckles.  Mr. Luck further                 
  stated that the provision dealing with school grounds was                    
  enacted in 1990.  The provision for metal knuckles has been                  
  around since the criminal code was revised.                                  
                                                                               
  Number 730                                                                   
                                                                               
  REP. BRICE asked if HB 417 brought both crimes up to the                     
  same level of Class A misdemeanor.                                           
                                                                               
  Number 734                                                                   
                                                                               
  MR. LUCKHAUPT answered that AS 11.61.210 would still outlaw                  
  the possession of metal knuckles and make it a Class A                       
  misdemeanor.  He then said AS 11.61.220 and the amendment to                 
  that provision would close a loophole pertaining to the                      
  possession of deadly weapons on school grounds.  He                          
  explained that when the legislature in 1990 proscribed the                   
  possession of firearms and defensive weapons on school                       
  grounds, it allowed for the possession of deadly weapons.                    
  He said that the problem is that possession of metal                         
  knuckles is a Class A misdemeanor, and the possession of                     
  metal knuckles on school grounds is a Class B misdemeanor.                   
                                                                               
  Number 774                                                                   
                                                                               
  REP. BUNDE stated that the legislation focuses on school                     
  grounds as opposed to someone possessing metal knuckles in a                 
  bar.  He said that the previous legislature decided that                     
  people possessing deadly weapons on school grounds were more                 
  likely to be children, therefore warranting a Class B                        
  misdemeanor rather than a Class A.                                           
                                                                               
  Number 786                                                                   
                                                                               
  REP. BRICE asked if CSHB 417 would bring the violation up to                 
  a Class A misdemeanor.                                                       
                                                                               
  Number 787                                                                   
                                                                               
  REP. BUNDE said no.  He said it makes metal knuckles equal                   
  to having a gun on school grounds, which is a Class B                        
  misdemeanor.                                                                 
                                                                               
  Number 790                                                                   
                                                                               
  REP. BRICE clarified by saying that the legislation would                    
  make possession of metal knuckles a Class B misdemeanor.                     
                                                                               
  Number 793                                                                   
                                                                               
  REP. BUNDE indicated that knuckles were being made a Class B                 
  misdemeanor on school grounds.                                               
                                                                               
  Number 795                                                                   
                                                                               
  REP. BRICE asked if deadly weapons on school grounds could                   
  be brought up to a Class A misdemeanor.                                      
                                                                               
  Number 812                                                                   
                                                                               
  REP. BUNDE said that the offenses were chosen to be Class B                  
  misdemeanors because the offenders are more likely to be                     
  children.  He then speculated that perhaps it should be a                    
  Class A misdemeanor.  He felt that as long as knuckles and                   
  other deadly weapons are equal to the severity of having a                   
  firearm on school grounds, he was comfortable with the                       
  legislation.                                                                 
                                                                               
  Number 837                                                                   
                                                                               
  MS. KNUTH stated on behalf of the administration that the                    
  possession of guns on school grounds should be a felony.                     
  She explained that currently it is such a light offense that                 
  there is no flexibility within the system to deal with the                   
  problem.  She said a maximum of 90 days is available for the                 
  criminal offense.  She felt that the message to children is                  
  "this is the least of all possible serious offenses, when                    
  it's the most lethal of all possible circumstances."  She                    
  said the proposal could be a great vehicle for attacking the                 
  problem.                                                                     
                                                                               
  REP. BUNDE said that he was not opposed to possibly changing                 
  the misdemeanor class and was interested in hearing further                  
  testimony.                                                                   
                                                                               
  Number 930                                                                   
                                                                               
  MR. MARSHALL testified in support of CSHB 417 as amended.                    
  He indicated that page 3, lines 2-3, specifies the grounds                   
  of the parking lot of a private or public school.  He asked                  
  the committee to consider adding school sponsored events                     
  under Section 2.                                                             
                                                                               
  REP. BUNDE referred to lines 4-6 that state, "...without                     
  permission of the chief administrative officer of the school                 
  or district..."                                                              
                                                                               
  Number 956                                                                   
                                                                               
  MR. MARSHALL suggested that perhaps weapons should be                        
  restricted relative to school sponsored events or in                         
  vicinity to school sponsored events.  He asked the committee                 
  to consider a provision regarding searches of school lockers                 
  that would include language that identifies a person (page                   
  3, line 29-30) has reasonable cause to believe deadly                        
  weapons are likely to be found as a result of a locker                       
  search.                                                                      
                                                                               
  Number 002                                                                   
                                                                               
  REP. BUNDE said he would be resistant to that type of                        
  change, indicating that a police officer may be searching                    
  for something other than a deadly weapon, e.g., contraband.                  
                                                                               
  Number 009                                                                   
                                                                               
  MR. MARSHALL suggested that a standard may want to be set so                 
  the administrator would be operating with authority relative                 
  to statute.                                                                  
                                                                               
  TAPE 94-24, SIDE A                                                           
  Number 000                                                                   
                                                                               
  REP. BRICE indicated what he thought to be a great                           
  difference between reasonable and probable cause.                            
                                                                               
  Number 034                                                                   
                                                                               
  REP. BUNDE asked if Rep. Brice was referring to page 2,                      
  Section C.  He stated that nothing in the section limits the                 
  ability of the police officer and other appropriate people                   
  to act in compliance with local, state, and federal law.                     
                                                                               
  Number 058                                                                   
                                                                               
  MS. KNUTH stated that she saw no reason to change Section C                  
  of the proposal.  She maintained that the purpose of the                     
  subsection was to clarify that police officers still have                    
  the right to conduct a search.                                               
                                                                               
  Number 092                                                                   
                                                                               
  REP. BUNDE clarified the meaning of a school sponsored                       
  event.  He related that football games in Anchorage are                      
  played on city property, not on campus, and the concern is                   
  not to have deadly weapons allowed at school sponsored                       
  events.  He said there are employees, students, and adults                   
  at school sponsored events, and he felt the scope of the                     
  legislation would not provide for all those people.                          
                                                                               
  Number 126                                                                   
                                                                               
  CHAIR TOOHEY stated that the legislation could not make the                  
  entire world safe.                                                           
                                                                               
  Number 142                                                                   
                                                                               
  MS. KNUTH asserted that the proposal has identifiable,                       
  physical boundaries.                                                         
                                                                               
  REP. G. DAVIS said that school regulations within a manual                   
  carry over to school sponsored events.  He felt that the                     
  legislation should carry over to school sponsored events.                    
                                                                               
  Number 166                                                                   
                                                                               
  CHAIR TOOHEY, for clarification, asked if the legislation                    
  was focusing on students or bystanders at a school sponsored                 
  event.                                                                       
                                                                               
  Number 174                                                                   
                                                                               
  REP. BUNDE related a scenario of a man driving into Mulcahey                 
  Park in Anchorage to change his tire while a high school                     
  football game is being played.  He has a gun rack in his                     
  truck and is anticipating that he will go hunting the next                   
  day.  Chair Bunde said in that instance there would be a                     
  boundary problem.                                                            
                                                                               
  Number 204                                                                   
                                                                               
  REP. BRICE said that there are rivals between various groups                 
  of students in Fairbanks.  He expressed concern that youths                  
  are becoming more violent, and perhaps a youth who is found                  
  carrying a concealed weapon should be made to "do time for                   
  the crime."  He felt there should be a provision that makes                  
  the offense as serious as being in possession of a concealed                 
  weapon in school.                                                            
                                                                               
  Number 250                                                                   
                                                                               
  REP. BUNDE said there may be an instance where an adult is                   
  carrying a gun for protection as he cuts through the back of                 
  the stands of a football field on his way to work.  He                       
  questioned if the man should be guilty of an offense.                        
                                                                               
  Number 263                                                                   
                                                                               
  REP. BRICE said no.                                                          
                                                                               
  REP. BUNDE said, according to what Rep. Brice was saying,                    
  the man would be guilty.                                                     
                                                                               
  Number 269                                                                   
                                                                               
  REP. BRICE asked how his concerns could be legally addressed                 
  within the proposal.                                                         
                                                                               
  Number 274                                                                   
                                                                               
  MS. KNUTH said that the answer to both scenarios is gun                      
  registration.  She said that it's difficult to say to                        
  children on one hand that they can't do something and turn                   
  around and have different rules for adults.  She said that a                 
  law can be created for a crime that is age related.                          
                                                                               
  Number 317                                                                   
                                                                               
  REP. BUNDE asked if the verbiage "participating in a school                  
  event" would address the aforementioned concerns.  He said                   
  that participating would mean that a person is actively                      
  involved in the event, and there would be a clear boundary.                  
                                                                               
  Number 334                                                                   
                                                                               
  MS. KNUTH said yes it would solve the problem as to who are                  
  the pool of violators.  Although, she said, there is still a                 
  problem of proving beyond a reasonable doubt that a person                   
  was actually participating in a school sponsored event.                      
                                                                               
  Number 359                                                                   
                                                                               
  REP. BUNDE referred to page 2, line 4, and said that the                     
  phrase, "or participating in a school sponsored event                        
  without the permission of the chief administrative officer,"                 
  could be added at the end of the sentence.                                   
                                                                               
  Number 386                                                                   
                                                                               
  MS. KNUTH said that as a prosecutor, she was comfortable                     
  with that language and she could establish to a jury's                       
  satisfaction whether or not a person was participating at a                  
  school sponsored event or not.  She questioned whether there                 
  needed to be a definition of "participating."                                
                                                                               
  Number 403                                                                   
                                                                               
  BILL CRAIG, Interim President, Alaska Native Blind, said                     
  there are laws concerning adults carrying concealed weapons,                 
  and he thought the prior discussion was irrelevant.  He said                 
  that adults participating in a school event would already be                 
  covered.                                                                     
                                                                               
  Number 425                                                                   
                                                                               
  MS. KNUTH said that most often that the proposed law would                   
  come into effect when discerning whether it is appropriate                   
  for the weapon to be in a case or in a trunk.                                
                                                                               
  Number 452                                                                   
                                                                               
  REP. BUNDE indicated that the weapon would have to be                        
  unloaded.  He said if it is loaded, it would not be allowed                  
  in a trunk or gun case.                                                      
                                                                               
  Number 465                                                                   
                                                                               
  MR. LUCKHAUPT said the provision for school grounds is not                   
  concerned with whether or not the weapon is concealed.  He                   
  said under the provisions of the proposed legislation, a                     
  person who was carrying a deadly or defensive weapon would                   
  be in violation.  He was concerned as to "how far                            
  participating is going to go."  He maintained that it is                     
  currently legal to carry an unconcealed deadly weapon.  He                   
  further explained it would be possible that a person,                        
  carrying an unconcealed weapon, would be hunting or trapping                 
  near a rural school to watch a school sponsored cross                        
  country skiing event.                                                        
                                                                               
  Number 517                                                                   
                                                                               
  REP. BUNDE asked if "actively participated" would be better                  
  language.                                                                    
                                                                               
  MS. KNUTH asserted that it would not clarify anything.  She                  
  said participating is meaningful to her, and that identifies                 
  to her who to prosecute and who not to prosecute.                            
                                                                               
  Number 541                                                                   
                                                                               
  REP. BRICE asked if participating in a school sponsored                      
  event needed to be included.  He said if someone is fixing a                 
  flat tire at a school, that person is not participating at a                 
  school event.                                                                
                                                                               
  Number 560                                                                   
                                                                               
  REP. BUNDE referred to legal counsel and said from his                       
  understanding, Ms. Knuth and Mr. Luckhaupt are comfortable                   
  with the language.  He made a motion to amend CSHB 417 to                    
  include the statement:  "participating in a school sponsored                 
  event without permission of..." on page 2, line 4, after the                 
  word "secondary school."                                                     
                                                                               
  Number 586                                                                   
                                                                               
  CHAIR TOOHEY, hearing no objections, said CSHB 417 as                        
  amended was so moved.                                                        
                                                                               
  Number 589                                                                   
                                                                               
  REP. BUNDE asked the committee if the offense should be a                    
  felony as opposed to a Class B misdemeanor.                                  
                                                                               
  Number 599                                                                   
                                                                               
  MS. KNUTH conveyed to the committee that attorneys who have                  
  worked with juveniles have had the experience that a Class B                 
  misdemeanor does not give them enough flexibility to deal                    
  appropriately with the juvenile.  She said that it is not                    
  worthwhile to go through a delinquency proceeding for a                      
  matter that is certainly indicative of a serious problem and                 
  that is only worthy of a Class B misdemeanor.  She stated                    
  that her office was surprised to find that it was only a                     
  Class B misdemeanor and said they had assumed it to be a                     
  felony.  She said it was a policy decision that needed to be                 
  made by the legislature.                                                     
                                                                               
  Number 634                                                                   
                                                                               
  REP. BUNDE asked the differences in penalties for                            
  misdemeanors and felony charges and level differences.                       
                                                                               
  Number 640                                                                   
                                                                               
  MS. KNUTH said that if a youth was to go through the                         
  juvenile system, there are not the same implications as                      
  there are with an adult.  She said that a judge would not                    
  waive a juvenile to adult status simply for possession of a                  
  gun.  She said the most serious of offenses would be waived;                 
  e.g., rape and murder.  She further stated that the                          
  penalties associated with making the offense a felony under                  
  the proposed legislation, would still be minimal.  She said                  
  if a convicted felon was in possession of a gun on school                    
  grounds it would be a Class A felony.                                        
                                                                               
  Number 694                                                                   
                                                                               
  REP. BUNDE asked Ms. Knuth to explain the parameters of                      
  sentencing.                                                                  
                                                                               
  MS. KNUTH stated that generally there would be no jail time                  
  imposed for this offense, but the maximum would be five                      
  years in jail and a $10,000 fine.                                            
                                                                               
  Number 707                                                                   
                                                                               
  REP. BUNDE suggested that the measure is more of a                           
  psychological deterrent; as with a misdemeanor there is no                   
  jail time, and as a felony there is the potential of at                      
  least two years in prison (not likely to be imposed).                        
                                                                               
  Number 717                                                                   
                                                                               
  MS. KNUTH agreed and also said that there is the option of                   
  probation and supervision.  She said the classification                      
  would imply that the offense is serious enough to warrant                    
  keeping an eye on the offender for at least a year.                          
                                                                               
  Number 724                                                                   
                                                                               
  REP. BUNDE asked if it would take major revisions of the                     
  proposal to make the offense a Class C felony.                               
                                                                               
  Number 733                                                                   
                                                                               
  MR. LUCKHAUPT said it would not be very difficult to make                    
  the change.                                                                  
                                                                               
  Number 744                                                                   
                                                                               
  REP. BUNDE asked if the change could be made now or would it                 
  require more time.                                                           
                                                                               
  Number 748                                                                   
                                                                               
  MR. LUCKHAUPT said that he could be directed to amend AS                     
  11.61.200.                                                                   
                                                                               
  Number 755                                                                   
                                                                               
  REP. BUNDE said that if he had the support of the committee                  
  to amend that section, he would be willing to pass the bill                  
  out of committee.                                                            
                                                                               
  Number 762                                                                   
                                                                               
  REP. BRICE said that guns in school should be equal to the                   
  offense of having brass knuckles outside of school.  He                      
  asked if there was a way to bring firearms up to a Class A                   
  misdemeanor.                                                                 
                                                                               
  Number 786                                                                   
                                                                               
  REP. BUNDE maintained that if a change was to be made it                     
  should be a felony.                                                          
                                                                               
  Number 796                                                                   
                                                                               
  REP. BRICE referred to the scenario where a student had a                    
  gun and the police were unable to respond in an appropriate                  
  manner.                                                                      
                                                                               
  Number 802                                                                   
                                                                               
  REP. BUNDE replied that the instance was a privacy issue and                 
  was not relevant.                                                            
                                                                               
  REP. BUNDE said the practical application of a misdemeanor                   
  would only involve a fine.  He said he now felt that a                       
  classification of a felony would be more appropriate.                        
                                                                               
  Number 823                                                                   
                                                                               
  MS. KNUTH said that an adult would incur jail time for the                   
  offense.  She further stated that a juvenile would go                        
  through an entirely different proceeding where the goal is                   
  rehabilitation.                                                              
                                                                               
  Number 838                                                                   
                                                                               
  CHAIR TOOHEY said that a five year old who goes to school                    
  with his father's gun would not be guilty of a felony.                       
                                                                               
  Number 846                                                                   
                                                                               
  REP. BUNDE indicated that there would be prosecutorial                       
  discretion.                                                                  
                                                                               
  Number 857                                                                   
                                                                               
  REP. BRICE said he would like to see possession of deadly                    
  weapon by a student on school property be a Class A                          
  misdemeanor.                                                                 
                                                                               
  Number 872                                                                   
                                                                               
  REP. BUNDE said he felt it would be appropriate to hold the                  
  bill and to give the issues further thought.                                 
                                                                               
  Number 887                                                                   
                                                                               
  REP. G. DAVIS indicated that if changes were made there                      
  could be ramifications regarding the fiscal note.                            
                                                                               
  Number 896                                                                   
                                                                               
  REP. BUNDE asked how the change would affect the fiscal                      
  note.                                                                        
                                                                               
  Number 899                                                                   
                                                                               
  MS. KNUTH said the fiscal note would remain at zero.                         
                                                                               
  Number 907                                                                   
                                                                               
  CHAIR TOOHEY stated that the bill would be held over until                   
  the next committee meeting.                                                  
                                                                               
  CHAIR TOOHEY brought HB 418 to the table.                                    

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