Legislature(1995 - 1996)
02/13/1996 08:05 AM STA
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
HB 338 - CONCEALED HANDGUN PERMIT AMENDMENTS CHAIR JAMES called on Barbara Cotting, Legislative Assistant to Jeannette James to present the committee substitute. Number 0214 BARBARA COTTING, Legislative Assistant to Representative Jeannette James, explained the package of information before the committee members contained the committee substitute (CS 9-LS1157/F), the sponsor statement, a brief explanation of the changes, and a list of the misdemeanors. She stated two years ago HB 351 was passed into law. She further stated one year ago Representative James introduced HB 338 which changed the handgun regulations. She explained there were a lot of hearings over the summer and as a result CS 9-LS1157/C was introduced at a House State Affairs Committee meeting a few weeks ago resulting in CS 9-LS1157/F. MS. COTTING read the following statement into the record. "After the passage of House Bill 351 in 1994, providing for the issuance of concealed handgun permits, we heard many comments from prospective applicants and license holders that 1. the process needed to be simplified, 2. the cost needed to be lowered, and 3. most of all, the list of places where a concealed handgun could be carried needed to be less restrictive. "People were discovering that, after subjecting themselves to the lengthy and expensive process of obtaining a concealed handgun permit, they were very limited in where they were allowed to carry their concealed handguns. "Those individuals willing to undergo the rigorous training courses and background checks required to acquire a concealed handgun permit in Alaska must be assumed to be among our most law abiding, trustworthy, and conscientious citizens. They should not have to be constantly leaving their handguns behind in order to conduct a normal day's business in our state. HB 338 would alleviate this problem." MS. COTTING referred the committee members to the list of 10 changes made to the CS 9-LS1157/F. She explained item 1 kept the applicant fee the same as in HB 338 at $65. However, she explained Representative James would be submitting a different fee. It would remain under $100, but still cover the actual costs, which had yet to be determined. Therefore, the fee would be under $100 and probably higher than $65 as stated in HB 338. MS. COTTING explained item 2 listed the places where a concealed handgun may not be carried: for example, areas prohibited by federal law, areas that have opted out, State Court Facilities, and bars that served liquor. Item 2 further stated a licensee was prohibited from disembarking from a vehicle while on school grounds, if a concealed handgun was carried on the person. MS. COTTING explained item 3 was the list of misdemeanors retained in the concealed handgun program. The list included the misdemeanors that dealt with violence and weapons violations. MS. COTTING explained item 4 returned the residency requirement to 90 days. MS. COTTING further explained item 5 maintained reciprocity with other states. It also required licensees from approved states to register their permit and obtain a copy of state laws. MS. COTTING explained item 6 granted retired police officers a permit without training requirements, if they applied within one year of retirement and paid the license fee. After receiving the permit, she explained, they would be subject to all existing revocation and renewal requirements. MS. COTTING further explained item 7 changed the word "firearms" to "concealed handguns." MS. COTTING explained item 8 to item 10 returned the original statute due to the reciprocity agreement, to for example: Prohibiting miniature handguns and derringers, returning the original training requirements, including the need to qualify for a specified caliber and action type, and returning the requirements of fingerprints and background checks. Number 0739 MS. COTTING referred the committee members to the actual CS 9- LS1157/F and explained the various sections. MS. COTTING explained Section 1 dealt with the school ground issue, and a village or municipality that was prohibited under current statute. MS. COTTING explained Section 2 dealt with the places that were valid to carry a concealed handgun. MS. COTTING explained Section 3 changed the word "firearms" to "concealed handguns" for the convenience of the Department of Public Safety. MS. COTTING explained Section 4 returned the approval or rejection of an applicant back to within 30 days. MS. COTTING explained Section 5 referenced the list of misdemeanors retained in the concealed handgun program. She further suggested an amendment to omit line 7 to line 9, on page 4. She also mentioned the residency issue was addressed on page 4, line 18, and returned it to 90 days. MS. COTTING explained Section 6 conformed the firearms to concealed handguns. MS. COTTING explained Section 7 added that an honorably retired peace officer could apply for a permit within one year after retirement. MS. COTTING explained Section 8 addressed reciprocity. MS. COTTING explained Section 9 amended the fees. The amount was unknown, however. MS. COTTING explained Section 10 conformed to previous sections and explained conditions under which a permit could be revoked. MS. COTTING explained Section 11 explained the places where a concealed handgun could be carried: for example, a licensed restaurant, school grounds in a vehicle, and a courtroom. She explained page 7, line 4 to line 28, were omitted. MS. COTTING explained Section 12 conformed repealed statutes. Number 0956 CHAIR JAMES asked if there were any questions from the committee members. Number 0975 REPRESENTATIVE CAREN ROBINSON wondered why the residency changed from 1 year to 90 days. Number 0988 CHAIR JAMES said the concern was qualification, and stated either a person was qualified or not to carry a concealed handgun. She also said there was a reciprocal issue involved. She cited there was an influx of people to Alaska and it did not matter if they were a resident of the state. She stated she preferred no residency requirement at all because it took 30 days to get the permit and the background check would identify those not qualified. Therefore, the 90 days were not as restrictive as 1 year. Number 1053 REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON wondered who would determine the reciprocity qualifications with other states. CHAIR JAMES replied the Department of Public Safety. Number 1073 REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON wondered if the Alaska Marine Highway System and domestic violence programs, for example, could post a sign prohibiting concealed handguns. Number 1087 MS. COTTING replied that part of the statute had not been changed so she assumed any facility could post a sign to prohibit a concealed handgun. Number 1096 REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON asked if the Marine Highway System was considered a facility. Number 1101 MS. COTTING replied, "yes," as she interpreted it. REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON wondered if any place could post a sign prohibiting a concealed handgun. MS. COTTING replied, "certainly." Number 1107 REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON enquired about posting a sign prohibiting handguns at her own home. Number 1121 CHAIR JAMES responded it was possible, if she was brave enough. Number 1130 REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON wondered if she could ask someone to leave if they were carrying a handgun. CHAIR JAMES replied she was not sure and called on Representative Brian Porter to respond. Number 1138 REPRESENTATIVE BRIAN PORTER said a person had the right to refuse entrance, or ask someone to leave their home at any time and for any reason. Number 1150 REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON wondered if the CS 9-LS1157/F included banks. MS. COTTING replied, "yes." Number 1157 REPRESENTATIVE SCOTT OGAN referred the committee members to page 7, line 15, item 9, and read "A residence where notice that carrying a concealed handgun is prohibited has been given by the posting of a conspicuous notice or by oral statement by the resident to the permittee." Number 1178 CHAIR JAMES wondered if page 7, item 9 was intended to be deleted. Number 1201 MS. COTTING replied she missed that item. She further responded to Representative Robinson's question regarding banks, and stated it was taken out of the places that were prohibited to carry a concealed handgun. Number 1226 REPRESENTATIVE PORTER said the removal of item 9 on page 7 might not be necessary because a law could not be written to control a person's private residence to allow a person inside with a gun. Number 1242 CHAIR JAMES replied when HB 351 was passed in 1994, a list of prohibited places was demanded from the individuals obtaining the permit. Therefore, the intent of HB 338 was to list all the places prohibited and not prohibited. Number 1286 MS. COTTING asked Representative Porter if Section 11, item 10, was included as a given right. Number 1301 REPRESENTATIVE PORTER replied a person responsible for a public facility had the right to qualify who may or may not enter or remain on the premise as long as it did not discriminate against a protected class. He said it was backed-up by a trespassing charge. Number 1333 CHAIR JAMES suggested conferring with the Department of Law regarding that issue. She further believed it was premature to make any changes to the concealed handgun law. However, a few changes were needed, but she did not want to make any drastic changes. She cited some permitees were concerned about walking to and from a bank with a large sum of money without a concealed handgun, because once at the bank they could not enter. She stated "concealed" was the action word and no evidence should be shown that a permittee carried a concealed handgun. She said permittees should not even reveal they had a concealed handgun permit. The advantage to carrying a concealed handgun was for personal protection. She was concerned a permittee would be treated differently, if it was known a handgun was being carried. She stated this could not be written into law, so it must be understood by the permit holders and addressed in the classes. The record reflected the arrival of Representative Ivan Ivan at 8:20 a.m. Number 1502 REPRESENTATIVE OGAN explained a restaurant and a bar were not clearly defined and cited his personal building experience. He wondered how it would work, if the intent was to keep individuals with concealed weapons out of the bars. Number 1604 CHAIR JAMES responded she tried to include in HB 338 that it was illegal to consume alcohol when carrying a concealed handgun. This was objected by a lot of people, however, who socially drink. She further said it was even objected by law enforcement and legally it would be hard to enforce. She explained, if you visited a place to eat you could carry a concealed handgun, but if you were visiting a place to drink you could not. That was the delineation of the intent. Number 1684 REPRESENTATIVE PORTER asked what if a person was visiting a place to eat and drink? Number 1690 CHAIR JAMES reiterated she believed a person should not consume alcohol while carrying a concealed handgun. Number 1705 REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON agreed with Chair James. She stated it was an easy bottom line or guideline to follow. A person carrying a concealed handgun should not drink, she asserted. She further wondered, if it was possible for the owner of a restaurant to post a notice. Number 1740 CHAIR JAMES explained the intent was for a private person to be able to post a notice where it was visible to prevent a confrontation. Number 1764 MS. COTTING suggested calling on Deputy Commissioner Del Smith, Department of Public Safety, for clarification regarding the posting of a notice and alcohol consumption issues. Number 1787 CHAIR JAMES replied she had already discussed with Deputy Commissioner Smith the issue of alcohol consumption. Number 1793 REPRESENTATIVE OGAN wondered if a statute already addressed the possession of a firearm while under the influence of alcohol. Number 1804 REPRESENTATIVE PORTER replied there was a statute that addressed intoxication and the possession of a firearm whereby the level of intoxication was determined on a case-by-case basis. However, there was no prohibition against having a drink while possessing a firearm. Number 1822 CHAIR JAMES said based on personal experiences, alcohol and guns did not mix. She cited many observations of hunting parties where alcohol was consumed more than bullets shot. She reiterated she would like to prohibit that in the bill. Number 1874 REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON suggested specific language was needed for posting notices similar to the fetal alcohol notice, to prevent confusion for private business owners. She further wondered what places were prohibited by federal law. Number 1924 CHAIR JAMES replied: for example, federal courts, and airport passenger loading areas. REPRESENTATIVE PORTER said to his surprise banks were not included. REPRESENTATIVE ED WILLIS wondered about schools. CHAIR JAMES replied, "no." A court decision indicated states could only make that decision based on an interference with the commerce clause of the constitution. Chair James said she would research the question further and respond on Saturday, February 17, 1996. Number 1957 REPRESENTATIVE PORTER suggested hearing testimony regarding the bar issue. He wondered how it would be enforced and suggested language was needed to clarify the issue. Number 1990 CHAIR JAMES said there was an impression by the public that anyone carrying a concealed handgun had an ulterior motive. She cited the issue surrounding Carr Gottstein Foods Co. that wanted to post a notice sign to prohibit concealed handgun. She stated dark parking lots were very dangerous, and wondered what a person would do with the weapon at the door before entering. She said the semantics dictated this bill, and it was discriminatory to prohibit just permitees from entering. The person with an ulterior motive did not care if there was a sign posted. She said she did not understand the hesitation when there was a general bill already allowing a weapon to be carried on a person while engaging in a lawful activity. House Bill 338 just extended it a little bit more, she asserted. Furthermore, HB 338 required training and a background check which was an improvement. She further stated once a person carried a concealed weapon, keeping it concealed was what made it successful. Number 2149 REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON wondered if it was legal to carry a concealed handgun into a state court. CHAIR JAMES replied it was prohibited as indicated in the CS 9- LS1157/F. CHAIR JAMES called on the first witness via teleconference in Mat- Su, Irl Stambaugh. Number 2173 IRL STAMBAUGH, Chief of Police, City of Wasilla, said he was concerned HB 338 would allow people to carry a concealed handgun into inappropriate places such as, city hall, city facilities, or any police agency. Number 2208 REPRESENTATIVE PORTER asked Chief Stambaugh if there was an enforcement problem for a person carrying a concealed weapon into a restaurant, but not a bar. Number 2223 CHIEF STAMBAUGH said it was hard to differentiate sometimes if a person was in a restaurant or in a bar. He further said he believed guns and booze did not mix. Number 2240 CHAIR JAMES commented there was a need for the food service industry to protect itself with a concealed weapon, and asked Chief Stambaugh to respond. Number 2255 CHIEF STAMBAUGH replied he did not have a problem with a restaurant, but did have a problem with a bar, and reiterated it was hard to sort the difference sometimes. Number 2265 CHAIR JAMES wondered, if Chief Stambaugh's concern was about a person carrying a concealed handgun while consuming alcohol, or was he concerned about a person being accosted and responding. Number 2277 CHIEF STAMBAUGH replied he had seen all of the above before. He said people did not use good sense after drinking too much in a bar. Number 2286 CHAIR JAMES asked Chief Stambaugh how he felt about adding language in the bill that prohibited alcohol consumption while carrying a concealed handgun. Number 2292 CHIEF STAMBAUGH responded it was appropriate and a good start. Number 2297 CHAIR JAMES wondered if Chief Stambaugh was more comfortable allowing an individual to carry a concealed handgun while eating in a restaurant. CHIEF STAMBAUGH repeated he did not have a problem with an individual carrying a concealed handgun while in a restaurant, only in a bar. CHAIR JAMES wondered if it would be helpful to include in the bill why the person was in the restaurant or bar. Number 2312 CHIEF STAMBAUGH replied it would be difficult to enforce. CHAIR JAMES called on the next witness via teleconference in Glennallen, Roy Brittian. Number 2320 ROY BRITTIAN said a person should not drink alcohol while carrying a concealed weapon. He further commented on classes offered in Glennallen. He stated the classes were too expensive, over $300. He asserted the cost limited it to those with a high salary. He further stated he wanted to see the classes conducted by the National Rifle Association (NRA). He suggested a waiver for the remote areas. He cited he would have to drive 250 miles one way to attend an NRA class. He further stated he would like the bill to include all weapons and not just a certain caliber or type of handgun. He further suggested stores should employee a parking lot patrol so the patrons would be safe walking from their car to the store. He reiterated the fee needed to be reduced, and special consideration given to the remote areas. Number 2440 CHAIR JAMES replied his concerns regarding the remote areas were real. She cited the classes were not available in the bush and the price prohibited those vulnerable, such as single women from obtaining a permit. However, to maintain credibility, the classes and background checks needed to continue. CHAIR JAMES called on the next witness via teleconference in Delta Junction, Bernard Goodno. Number 2484 BERNARD GOODNO said he opposed HB 338. He stated it was a direct violation of the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution, and a direct violation of Article I, Section 19, of the Alaska State Constitution. He stated the oath meant nothing, and the drafter of HB 338 was breaking the law. CHAIR JAMES called on the next witness via teleconference in Kenai, Wesley Newcom. Number 0018 WESLEY NEWCOMB said there should not be a carry permit because the individuals that we needed to worry about were the ones that did the damage. However, since there was a carry permit, he questioned the regulation against a small, miniature gun and cited the derringer. He further said the cost was out of line and it was too high for a lot of people. Mr. Newcomb also stated training was not necessary for the individuals who had served in the military. He agreed a weapon should not be carried into a place to drink or a police station. Other areas, he stated, a person should be able to carry a concealed weapon unless posted. CHAIR JAMES called on the next witness via teleconference in Fairbanks, Lynn Levengood. Number 0106 LYNN LEVENGOOD thanked Chair James for trying to straighten the law out. He stated he helped draft the original language. The regulations drafted by the Department of Public Safety, he asserted, were abominable. He said the regulations treated Alaskan citizens like common criminals. He cited police in Fairbanks used their computer to determine if a person pulled over had a permit. He reiterated he was tired of being treated like a criminal. When the law was passed in 1994, it changed the Alaska State Constitution also. He said the right of the people to keep and bear arms should not be infringed or denied by the state or a political subdivision of the state. He stated HB 338 did not address the private property issue. He asserted the constitutional right did not apply to areas open to the public. He also said it was against the Alaska State Constitution to allow municipalities to opt-out of the bill and should be deleted from the bill. He said the controversy surrounding the bars and restaurants was a non-issue. He cited this had not been a problem in the states of Vermont, Florida, and Alabama. He further stated the zone around the school and not the language of carrying a gun into the school building while in session was struck down by a federal court. He cited gun shows were held in school buildings in Fairbanks. He suggested changing the language in Section 11, item (2), page 6, to include "while in session." He said the intent was not to protect an empty building. He suggested changing the language in Section 8, item (a), to read "the state shall honor reciprocity of other state licensed holders." He said it was a constitutional right and should be honored among all states. He alleged HB 338 created a legal mine field with respect to the places a person could or could not carry a permit. He cited it was an automatic misdemeanor if a woman forgot to take a gun out of her purse, for example. He suggested adding the words discussing a Class D misdemeanor, "except for valid permit holders for which it is a violation punishable by a fine of up to $500." He said a criminal record for an inadvertent mistake was chilling and needed to be addressed. Number 0352 REPRESENTATIVE PORTER asked Mr. Levengood if he felt the right to keep and bear arms was an absolute right. Number 0363 MR. LEVENGOOD replied it was a fundamental right such as the right to privacy. Therefore, "no," it was not an absolute right. However, the state could restrict fundamental rights when there was a compelling government interest. CHAIR JAMES called on the next witness via teleconference in Fairbanks, Ladd McBride. Number 0386 LADD MCBRIDE reminded the committee members it was the law abiding citizens this bill addressed. He thanked the committee members for reviewing the fee schedule. He reiterated this bill was addressing law abiding citizens that were protected under the Second Amendment. He cited the saying, "don't ask, don't tell" addressing the private property issue. He was concerned about restricting a law abiding citizen as to where he could eat and drink. In conclusion, he stated, if it was made a problem, it might very well become a problem. CHAIR JAMES called on the next witness via teleconference in Ketchikan, Roe Thomas. Number 0472 ROE THOMAS said he was concerned about allowing a concealed handgun into a bar but not a restaurant because the licensed premises were not really posted. He suggested treating a licensee the same as an individual while under the influence when driving. He wondered, however, how this would be policed. He agreed with the school premise issue, and again suggested the restaurant issue needed further consideration. CHAIR JAMES called on the next witness via teleconference in Mat- Su, Mary Ellen Emmons. Number 0578 MARY ELLEN EMMONS said her family had discussed this issue many times. She stated it was a shame to be discussing this issue because it meant there was a failure in the justice system. She did not want to have to carry a gun to protect herself. She wanted to believe this was a more civilized time. However, she also did not want to be a victim. She stated it was important to remember HB 338 was for the law abiding citizens. She wanted the law to be straight forward because common sense could not be legislated. She stated there were systems in place and she wanted the ultimate energy to go towards making sure there were sufficient consequences for criminals. She stated it was important that society had the guts to put someone behind bars. Ms. Emmons said, in conclusion, this law was a result of a lot of frustration. Number 0675 CHAIR JAMES replied nationwide there were very few incidents surrounding individuals that carried a concealed weapon. She said there was not an escalation of gun activity because an individual had a permit to carry a concealed weapon. In her opinion, the people that carried a concealed weapon were very sincere about why it was needed. She cited the most vulnerable were single women and carrying a small gun in their purse made them feel secure. She further stated the law enforcement issue needed to be put into perspective. She cited there was a limited number of officers, court time, and places where criminals were held. She stated law enforcement was working hard, but was not here to protect the individual from an individual challenge. CHAIR JAMES called on the next witness via teleconference in Delta Junction, Gene Ottenstroer. Number 0758 GENE OTTENSTROER said he opposed HB 338. He said it needed to be scrapped. He called it a big infringement. He cited the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution and read, "a well regulated militia being necessary to secure a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed." He read the definition of militia from a law dictionary, "a body of citizens in a state enrolled for discipline as a military force but not engaged in actual services except in emergencies as distinguished from regular troops or a standing army." He also read the definition of infringement, "a breaking into, a trespass, or an encroachment upon a violation of law, regulation, contract or right." He said the bill was a great injustice to the citizens and the state of Alaska. He wondered if the committee members understood the constitution. Number 0859 CHAIR JAMES responded the committee members vowed they would support the constitution. She stated Mr. Levengood made it clear that whenever there was a state compelling interest, provisions were allowed. CHAIR JAMES called on the next witness in Juneau, Harlan Knudson. Number 0885 HARLAN KNUDSON, President, The Alaska State Hospital and Nursing Home Association, said he was here today to offer an amendment and to make a plea on behalf of the individuals that run community hospitals, nursing homes, and mental health centers. He referred the committee members to page 7, line 13, and read "A facility providing services to victims of domestic violence or sexual assault." He said he opposed the deletion of this provision and suggested an amendment to allow institutions to post a sign. He said he could not cite an incident in a health facility due to a concealed handgun. However, he explained he was concerned about a weapon in a handbag left by a woman: for example, in a nursing home with a suicidal patient, or in an emergency room, or in a community mental health center. A sign was needed to protect the patients. He said the woman would not claim the mistake and the trial lawyers would sue the hospital, nursing home, or community mental health center because the patient was not protected. He urged the committee members to include a health care facility in the law to post a sign. Number 1089 CHAIR JAMES replied she was insulted that he believed a lady with a concealed handgun would be that careless. She said people who carried a concealed handgun were responsible. She wondered about a young woman who carried a concealed handgun and sought treatment at a health care facility. She wondered if she was a law breaker because of the concealed handgun in her purse. She did not want an answer from Mr. Knudson she just wanted to pose a different scenario. She further said there was a communication problem between the parties regarding responsibility and in a few years a consensus would be reached. She also stated these people were not criminals, but felt the need to carry a concealed weapon to protect themselves. The fear Mr. Knudson was feeling now that compelled him to testify, was the same fear that compelled an individual to carry a concealed handgun, and it was important to understand each other's fear. Number 1200 MR. KNUDSON replied, "point well taken, and we will do that." Number 1208 REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON wondered if hospitals and other facilities that wanted to post, could? Number 1221 CHAIR JAMES stated she believed they could, but would verify with the Department of Law. She said she did not want to make an individual a law breaker by going to a place for assistance, such as a hospital. She suggested looking at the semantics and fear of when to arm, and when to disarm. Number 1271 REPRESENTATIVE IVAN IVAN asked if there were similar amendments submitted. Number 1288 CHAIR JAMES replied, "no." A committee substitute was being discussed now. The bill was still in transition and still being discussed. She said on Saturday, February 17, 1996, hopefully, an agreement would be reached on the amendments. She announced she wanted to move the bill soon, but it needed to be acceptable by the majority of the people. CHAIR JAMES called on the next witness in Juneau, Gary Hayden. Number 1333 GARY HAYDEN, Director, Alaska Marine Highway System (AMHS), referred the committee members to Section 11, line 12, and stated he was concerned, as the bill read, it would allow an individual to carry a concealed weapon aboard a vessel of the Alaska Marine Highway System. He said the AMHS was a common carrier and a public agency. He wondered if a public entity had the right to post a policy notice regarding handguns. He further said the AMHS transported around 400 to 600 people each year on any one of the ships. He said HB 338 would diminish the safety, security and well being of the passengers, and the confidence of the public. He said it created safety and security concerns for the employees of the AMHS. The officers represented the lawful authority at sea, and their duties included an on-going effort to encompass a security program to minimize conflict and protect the lives of the passengers and the crew. Periodically the AMHS met with state and national law enforcement agencies to assess the risk of travelling and considered steps to mitigate any potential problems. The AMHS continually dealt with unruly, belligerent and hostile passengers, but the crew was not armed. The policy did not allow loaded weapons on the vessels. A carried, unloaded firearm was allowed locked in a vehicle, and a foot passenger needed to check the weapon with ship personnel. The most serious incidents in the past evolved from passengers reporting other passengers with concealed weapons. The crew, with one exception, was able to control the situation. He cited that one exception occurred on January 14, 1994 when an individual took a pursuer hostage and fired several rounds then took his own life, and current policy was a direct result of that incident. He said if concealed firearms were allowed on ships the valuable edge gained from passenger observation would be lost. He said it would be difficult to tell the good guys from the bad guys. He wondered about the additional security measures needed, such as metal detectors. There was no information to suggest that the passengers needed weapons to protect themselves or that the crew had been unable to protect the passengers, he stated. He said, if HB 338 was passed, the AMHS would need to implement a policy patterned after Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulations concerning concealed weapons on airlines. In conclusion, this bill suggested deleting the AMHS was not needed. If a passenger needed additional security he suggested the passenger check-in with the officer upon boarding and arrangements would be made. Number 1687 CHAIR JAMES said she agreed with Mr. Hayden except for the statement made referring to the distinction between the good guys and the bad guys and took offense to the statement. Number 1711 MR. HAYDEN replied she misunderstood the statement. He explained in the past the AMHS had dealt with individuals who carried a weapon, successfully. However, now that there were two groups on board - those who could carry and those who could not carry - it complicated the crew's job performance. He did not mean to be offensive. CHAIR JAMES called on the next witness in Juneau, Bob Provost. Number 1765 BOB PROVOST, Regional Director, Inlandboatman's Union of the Pacific, Alaska Region (IBU), said there was a long history of transporting passengers safely. He said there was a system in place to check-in handguns in comparison to a bank or a store. There was no need to carry a firearm legally or illegally on the ferry, he asserted. He further said he supported Mr. Hayden's testimony. The IBU members were the stewards, deck hands, and engine room personnel that took care of passenger's needs all over the vessel. He cited in the middle of the summer there were as many as 500 passengers aboard the ferry system of which some slept on the solarium. He stated he was concerned someone would get into a handbag or pocket which had happened in the past, when sleeping. He said he was not worried about the licensed individuals, but about the other individuals who might come across the weapons when they were not secured. CHAIR JAMES called on the next witness via teleconference in Ketchikan, Robert Nesvick. Number 2040 ROBERT NESVICK said he was a former police chief. He said there was a lot of hysteria created by people who had very little knowledge of carrying a concealed weapon. He said in Alaska there were more people carrying a concealed weapon without a permit than with a permit. He wondered why everyone was worried about the individuals who had taken the time to get a permit. He said if a person was carrying a concealed weapon no one would know. He cited he had been in and out of banks in the course of duty and nobody knew if he had a gun or not. He said there was an enforcement problem regarding bars and restaurants. He stated there was a policy where the off-duty officer could not carry a concealed gun when drinking, and suggested that be extended to everyone. He wondered why there was a problem as other states had shown it was not a problem. CHAIR JAMES called on the next witness in Juneau, Vernon Marshall. Number 2186 VERNON MARSHALL, Executive Director, National Education Association Alaska (NEA), said the assumption was school zones were free zones. He said schools were experiencing an escalation of violence. He felt guns and school kids did not mix. He wondered about uncontrollable situations and commented it would be hard to distinguish between permitees and non-permitees. He urged the committee members to continue the schools as gun free areas. He questioned the wording "propelled vehicle," and wondered if that pertained to snow machines and motorcycles. Number 2424 CHAIR JAMES responded, a snow machine would be a propelled vehicle as well as any other vehicle found in the bush. She stated the current law was too strict and a permittee should be able to drop off his wife or child at school without breaking the law. It was unreasonable, she asserted. She said a weapon in the car did not perpetuate more guns on the school grounds.