Legislature(1995 - 1996)

02/13/1996 08:05 AM STA

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= 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              
 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               
 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           
 MS. COTTING explained Section 7 added that an honorably retired               
 peace officer could apply for a permit within one year after                  
 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              
 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                
 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              
 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              
 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                       
 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            
 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-               
 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               
 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               
 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                
 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.                                   

Document Name Date/Time Subjects