Legislature(1995 - 1996)

02/22/1996 08:25 AM STA

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
txt
 HB 338 - CONCEALED HANDGUN PERMIT AMENDMENTS                                
                                                                               
 The first order of business to come before the House State Affairs            
 Committee was CSHB 338(STA).                                                  
                                                                               
 CHAIR JEANNETTE JAMES called on Barbara Cotting, Legislative                  
 Administrative Assistant to Representative Jeannette James, to                
 present the proposed amendments to CSHB 338(STA).                             
                                                                               
 Number 0067                                                                   
                                                                               
 BARBARA COTTING, Legislative Administrative Assistant to                      
 Representative Jeannette James, read the following statement into             
 the record.                                                                   
                                                                               
 "Ignore all previous drafts and amendments!  Draft Version G makes            
 the following changes to the current statute:                                 
                                                                               
 "Section 1 provides an affirmative defense against prosecution for          
 misconduct involving weapons in the fourth degree (possessing a               
 deadly weapon on school grounds) by allowing a licensee to carry a            
 concealed handgun on school grounds within a propelled vehicle,               
 other than a school bus, as long as the defendant did not exit the            
 propelled vehicle.                                                            
                                                                               
 "Section 2 provides an affirmative defense against prosecution for          
 misconduct involving weapons in the fifth degree (possessing a                
 deadly weapon where intoxicating liquor is sold for consumption on            
 the premises) by allowing a licensee to carry a concealed handgun             
 into a place where intoxicating liquor is sold for consumption on             
 the premises as long as the defendant did not consume intoxicating            
 liquor there and did not consume intoxicating liquor at any time              
 during the previous eight hours.                                              
                                                                               
 "It also clarifies current statute which provides an affirmative              
 defense if the possession occurred on business premises owned or              
 leased by the defendant or in the course of the defendant's                   
 employment for the owner or lessee of the premises.                           
                                                                               
 "Section 3 requires the Department of Public Safety to provide each         
 applicant with a copy of state laws and regulations relating to               
 concealed handguns.                                                           
                                                                               
 "Section 4 gives the Department of Public Safety a total of 30 days         
 (instead of 15 days after receipt of background check information)            
 to either approve or reject an application.                                   
                                                                               
 "Section 5 amends qualifications for obtaining a permit.  It                
 returns to the original list of disqualifying misdemeanors in                 
 current statute.  It also changes the residency requirement from              
 one year to 90 days.                                                          
                                                                               
 "Section 6 changes the Department of Public Safety's requirement to         
 provide each applicant with a copy of state laws and regulations              
 relating to just concealed handguns (rather than relating to all              
 firearms).                                                                    
                                                                               
 "Section 7 adds a new subsection allowing an honorably retired              
 peace officer to apply for and receive a permit within one year of            
 retirement without having to demonstrate competency.  This applies            
 only to the initial application, not to subsequent renewals.                  
                                                                               
 "Section 8 adds a new section allowing the Department of Public             
 Safety to enter into reciprocity agreements with other states.                
 Applicants from qualifying states must meet Alaska's qualifications           
 and pay a fee not to exceed Alaska's initial application fee.                 
                                                                               
 "Section 9 lowers the application fee cap to $65 and the renewal            
 fee cap to $30.                                                               
                                                                               
 "Section 10 changes the list of places where a licensee may NOT             
 carry a concealed handgun, to include only:                                   
                                                                               
 1.  All places prohibited by federal law (all federal facilities              
 and federal courts, airplanes, and some national parks).                      
                                                                               
 2.  State courthouses or courtrooms.                                          
                                                                               
 3.  Residences, businesses, or meetings where notice prohibiting              
 concealed handguns is conspicuously posted.                                   
                                                                               
 4.  School grounds except within the licensee's vehicle.                      
                                                                               
 5.  Municipalities or villages that have opted out.                           
                                                                               
 "Section 11 changes the penalties for carrying a concealed handgun          
 into a prohibited place.                                                      
                                                                               
 "The first offense is a violation, punishable by a fine.                      
                                                                               
 "The second offense is a class B misdemeanor.                                 
                                                                               
 "The third and any subsequent offense are class A misdemeanors (two           
 Class A misdemeanors cause revocation of the license), EXCEPT:                
                                                                               
 "Section 12 adds a new subsection making it a class A misdemeanor           
 to carry a concealed handgun in public while consuming intoxicating           
 liquor or within eight hours after consuming an intoxicating                  
 liquor.                                                                       
                                                                               
 "Section 13 repeals penalties for late renewal of a permit."                
                                                                               
 Number 0454                                                                   
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE IVAN IVAN asked Ms. Cotting to clarify the                     
 definition of a propelled vehicle.                                            
                                                                               
 MS. COTTING said it was a legal definition the bill drafter came up           
 with.                                                                         
                                                                               
 Number 0468                                                                   
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE BRIAN PORTER explained within the definition of                
 propelled vehicles were snowmobiles, 4-wheelers, and recreational             
 vehicles.  He further explained a motor vehicle was defined as the            
 traditional automobile, while propelled vehicles included the                 
 others.                                                                       
                                                                               
 Number 0486                                                                   
                                                                               
 MS. COTTING replied propelled vehicle was included to deal partly             
 with the rural areas.                                                         
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE IVAN replied, "I appreciate that."                             
                                                                               
 CHAIR JAMES called on the first witness via teleconference in                 
 Anchorage, Tom Clemons.                                                       
                                                                               
 Number 0529                                                                   
                                                                               
 TOM CLEMONS, Security Guard, First National Bank of Anchorage, said           
 the bank did not support the bill as written.  He said it did not             
 want any concealed handguns in the bank.  He further said the bank            
 feared potential violence as a result of a customer service                   
 problem, for example.  He also stated other financial institutions            
 also believed they remained in the law and did not know until this            
 morning about the changes, and asked for more time so that others             
 could testify.                                                                
                                                                               
 Number 0648                                                                   
                                                                               
 CHAIR JAMES explained to Mr. Clemons, as the law was written, a               
 bank could post a notice to not allow concealed handguns on its               
 premise.                                                                      
                                                                               
 Number 0664                                                                   
                                                                               
 MR. CLEMONS replied the bank understood that, but a state statute             
 was stronger than a business policy.  He said the bank liked the              
 law as it was before the amendments.                                          
                                                                               
 Number 0692                                                                   
                                                                               
 CHAIR JAMES explained to Mr. Clemons that the training for carrying           
 a concealed handgun did not allow a permittee to act as a police              
 officer, and that he was only allowed to use the deadly force as              
 protection of himself or his family.  Therefore, a permittee would            
 be powerless to act in the event of a bank robbery, for example.              
                                                                               
 Number 0734                                                                   
                                                                               
 MR. CLEMONS replied life skills and disciplines of individuals were           
 different for everyone.  He said as a former police officer and               
 based on his experiences the discipline Chair James was referring             
 to was not learned in a two hour period.                                      
                                                                               
 Number 0782                                                                   
                                                                               
 CHAIR JAMES explained to Mr. Clemons that permittees felt safe                
 carrying a concealed handgun when walking with large sums of money            
 to a bank, and was concerned a notice would preclude them from that           
 protection.  She wondered what the permittee would do with the                
 handgun upon entering the bank.                                               
                                                                               
 Number 0820                                                                   
                                                                               
 MR. CLEMONS replied the bank had the same problem within the                  
 central vault area.  He stated the position of the bank was that              
 money was money and it was not worth the life of anybody.  A life             
 should not be put into jeopardy for a case of theft.  A person in             
 a bank was guaranteed some protection due to security guards,                 
 cameras, and other deterrents so a permittee could be assured that            
 once he was in the bank there was protection.                                 
                                                                               
 Number 0873                                                                   
                                                                               
 CHAIR JAMES replied Mr. Clemons did not understand her question.              
 She wondered again what the permittee would do with the handgun               
 upon entering the bank.                                                       
                                                                               
 Number 0902                                                                   
                                                                               
 MR. CLEMONS responded there was the option for the permittee to               
 leave the handgun in his vehicle.                                             
                                                                               
 Number 0924                                                                   
                                                                               
 CHAIR JAMES wondered about a permittee that walked to the bank.               
                                                                               
 MR. CLEMONS stated there were deterrents such as surveillance                 
 cameras that protected the surrounding area of a bank.  He cited              
 the statistics indicated it was safer at a bank because of the                
 unforeseen deterrents.  He said he understood what Chair James was            
 saying, but the banks did not want handguns brought inside and                
 wanted a state law to assist in this endeavor.                                
                                                                               
 Number 0975                                                                   
                                                                               
 CHAIR JAMES explained the next committee of referral for CSHB
 338(STA) was the House Judiciary Committee and suggested further              
 testimony from Mr. Clemons and his friends when the bill was in               
 that committee.                                                               
                                                                               
 Number 0992                                                                   
                                                                               
 MR. CLEMONS announced Mr. Arson from the National Bank of Alaska              
 did not know the amendments to the law did not include banks,                 
 otherwise he would have been here today to testify as well as                 
 others.  He suggested to Chair James to hear their testimony before           
 moving the bill to the next committee of referral.                            
                                                                               
 Number 1023                                                                   
                                                                               
 CHAIR JAMES replied the House Judiciary Committee would do a fine             
 job hearing their testimony.  She said she felt comfortable moving            
 the bill forward, if that was the decision of the House State                 
 Affairs Committee members.                                                    
                                                                               
 CHAIR JAMES called on the next witness via teleconference in                  
 Anchorage, Larry Wiget.                                                       
                                                                               
 Number 1037                                                                   
                                                                               
 LARRY WIGET, Director of Government Relations/Legislative Liaison,            
 Anchorage School District, said the district opposed CSHB 338(STA).           
 He cited the school district specifically opposed Section 1 that              
 provided an affirmative defense against protection of prosecution             
 involving weapons in the fourth degree by allowing a licensee to              
 carry a concealed handgun on school grounds within a propelled                
 vehicle, other than a school bus, as long as the defendant did not            
 exit the propelled vehicle.  He also cited Section 10, subsection             
 4 that did not allowed a concealed handgun on school grounds except           
 within the licensee's vehicle.  He said the Anchorage School                  
 District had strong policies against weapons.  He cited there was             
 no tolerance for weapons or drugs.  He also cited there was a                 
 municipal ordinance that prohibited weapons on school grounds.  He            
 said this was an emotional issue for many, but for the safety of              
 the students, the message the district wanted to send to them was             
 weapons concealed or not were not welcome on the school grounds.              
                                                                               
 Number 1106                                                                   
                                                                               
 CHAIR JAMES explained to Mr. Wiget there were 4,000 permittees that           
 passed a stringent background check and attended classes to obtain            
 their permit.  She further explained they had a right to protect              
 themselves while in public.                                                   
                                                                               
 Number 1126                                                                   
                                                                               
 MR. WIGET said the district recognized there were approximately               
 4,000 permittees.  However, the district was responsible for the              
 47,623 students entering and exiting the school grounds throughout            
 the day.  He cited in a large high school at the beginning and at             
 the end of the day, a large number of students were in the parking            
 lot, and was concerned about a concealed weapon in one of the                 
 vehicles.                                                                     
                                                                               
 Number 1162                                                                   
                                                                               
 CHAIR JAMES said she understood his concern, and asked what he                
 feared from the permittees.                                                   
                                                                               
 Number 1168                                                                   
                                                                               
 MR. WIGET replied, the issue for the Anchorage School District was            
 the safety of the students, and it did not want guns on school                
 grounds.                                                                      
                                                                               
 Number 1177                                                                   
                                                                               
 CHAIR JAMES commented the message the district was giving to the              
 students was that guns were evil.  She explained a better message             
 to give was that guns in the wrong hands were evil.                           
                                                                               
 CHAIR JAMES called on the next witness via teleconference in                  
 Wrangell, Bruce Eagle.                                                        
                                                                               
 Number 1206                                                                   
                                                                               
 BRUCE EAGLE said he was a certified rifle and pistol instructor.              
 He announced he supported CSHB 338(STA).  He suggested adding that            
 the Department of Public Safety provide an abstract in the use of             
 deadly force for future state accountability.                                 
                                                                               
 CHAIR JAMES agreed with Mr. Eagle regarding the abstract in the use           
 of deadly force.  She called it a good idea.  She said the                    
 individuals applying for a permit knew about the use of a deadly              
 force, but it did not hurt to enforce it and an abstract was a good           
 idea.                                                                         
                                                                               
 CHAIR JAMES called on the next witness via teleconference in                  
 Wrangell, Susan Stevens.                                                      
                                                                               
 Number 1283                                                                   
                                                                               
 SUSAN STEVENS said she was a certified rifle and pistol instructor.           
 She announced she supported CSHB 338(STA).  She especially was in             
 favor of changing the fees.  She also agreed with Mr. Eagle                   
 regarding the abstract in the use of a deadly force.                          
                                                                               
 CHAIR JAMES called on the next witness via teleconference in                  
 Wrangell, Glenn Smith.                                                        
                                                                               
 Number 1310                                                                   
                                                                               
 GLENN SMITH said he agreed with CSHB 338(STA).  He also agreed with           
 Mr. Eagle and Ms. Stevens that a description of the use of a deadly           
 force should be available.  He further commented that a concealed             
 handgun on school grounds was a good way to demonstrate a law                 
 abiding citizen to the students.                                              
                                                                               
 Number 1380                                                                   
                                                                               
 CHAIR JAMES agreed it was important to send an overall message to             
 students about the use and evilness of guns.                                  
                                                                               
 CHAIR JAMES called on the next witness via teleconference in                  
 Wrangell, Gary Scheff.                                                        
                                                                               
 Number 1391                                                                   
                                                                               
 GARY SCHEFF said he supported CSHB 338(STA) as written.                       
                                                                               
 CHAIR JAMES called on the next witness via teleconference in                  
 Wrangell, Angus Rae.                                                          
                                                                               
 Number 1405                                                                   
                                                                               
 ANGUS RAE said he supported CSHB 338(STA).  He said it was cost               
 prohibited before, over $500 for two permits.  He said he and his             
 wife took the class and it was very well done.  He explained in               
 Wrangell there were houses within a close proximity to the schools,           
 and wondered how it was possible to tell the home owners they could           
 not have a handgun in their home.                                             
                                                                               
 Number 1444                                                                   
                                                                               
 CHAIR JAMES explained the fee in CSHB 338(STA) was $65.  She                  
 announced there would be an amendment to raise that to $99 based on           
 the department's needs and general fund.                                      
                                                                               
 CHAIR JAMES called on the next witness via teleconference in                  
 Wrangell, Doug McCloaky.                                                      
                                                                               
 Number 1505                                                                   
                                                                               
 DOUG MCCLOAKY, Lt., Wrangell Police Department, stated the training           
 renewal was excessive.  He suggested a quiz, for example, and                 
 reiterated a full training course was redundant.  He said he was              
 opposed to letting a concealed handgun into a bar.  He stated there           
 was no need to mix handguns and alcohol.  He further stated the               
 message to the students should be of responsibility and personal              
 accountability, and not that the gun was evil.                                
                                                                               
 Number 1581                                                                   
                                                                               
 CHAIR JAMES explained the license was good for five years.  She               
 announced she was not willing to address that issue now, but in               
 four years it should be looked at again.                                      
                                                                               
 Number 1608                                                                   
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE PORTER commented the renewal training was an                   
 opportunity for a permittee to stay abreast of the laws.                      
                                                                               
 CHAIR JAMES called on the next witness via telephone in Fairbanks,            
 Gary Roth, President, Denali State Bank.                                      
                                                                               
 Number 1642                                                                   
                                                                               
 GARY ROTH, President, Denali State Bank, said contrary to previous            
 testimony from the banking industry, he supported the ability of a            
 permittee to take his firearm into his bank.  He wondered if                  
 national banks and federal credit unions were included in the                 
 original bill because it addressed those banks that operated under            
 state statutes.  Nonetheless, he did not want his bank to be a                
 target with criminals knowing no one was armed.  He said he wanted            
 a potential bank robber to think that the person standing next to             
 him or her might be armed.  He stated the permittees were honest              
 citizens, and reiterated he did not want his bank to be a target.             
                                                                               
 CHAIR JAMES called on the next witness in Juneau, Lauree Hugonin,             
 Executive Director, Alaska Network on Domestic Violence and Sexual            
 Assault.                                                                      
                                                                               
 Number 1784                                                                   
                                                                               
 LAUREE HUGONIN, Executive Director, Alaska Network on Domestic                
 Violence and Sexual Assault, said the network was concerned about             
 the definition of "residents."  She wondered if the definition                
 included shelter programs and safe home programs.  She said a law             
 would be stronger and urged the committee members to include them             
 in the bill.  In conclusion she wondered about creating peace and             
 the choices to create peace.  She explained peace only existed in             
 a "we" society where the interdependence was recognized.  She                 
 further said peaceful living took a lot of courage and consistent             
 action and asked the committee members to consider that.                      
                                                                               
 Number 1964                                                                   
                                                                               
 CHAIR JAMES responded humans were social animals and we needed each           
 other to survive.  However, a balance was needed between collective           
 behavior and individual behavior, while recognizing the rights of             
 others and one's own individuality.                                           
                                                                               
 Number 2056                                                                   
                                                                               
 MS. HUGONIN explained abusers in domestic violence situations often           
 did not have a criminal record.  Therefore, they would pass the               
 background check to obtain a permit, and called it a mechanism for            
 further intimidation.  She cited an example whereby an abuser could           
 simply point to his concealed handgun to intimidate the person                
 being abused and no one would be aware of it.                                 
                                                                               
 Number 2111                                                                   
                                                                               
 CHAIR JAMES replied, historically, that fear had not been an issue            
 in places that already had a concealed handgun permit law.  She               
 commented fear was real and not always based on reality.  She                 
 further addressed Ms. Hugonin's concerns regarding residents.  She            
 explained the bill also included businesses and if the programs or            
 shelters did not fit a resident it would then be a business.                  
                                                                               
 Number 2151                                                                   
                                                                               
 MS. HUGONIN asked if that provision was in Section 10, subsection             
 3 or 4?                                                                       
                                                                               
 CHAIR JAMES said a residence and business was ongoing and the                 
 section gave everyone the right to post a notice to prohibit a                
 concealed handgun.                                                            
                                                                               
 Number 2190                                                                   
                                                                               
 MS. HUGONIN said she did not see where a business was listed.  She            
 stated she saw a "residence" and a "meeting of a business."                   
                                                                               
 CHAIR JAMES referred Ms. Hugonin to Section 10, subsection 3 and 4,           
 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; a meeting of a business, charitable, or other                      
 organization or entity where notice that carrying a concealed                 
 handgun is prohibited has been given by the posting of conspicuous            
 notice."                                                                      
                                                                               
 Number 2219                                                                   
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE PORTER commented there might be a typo in Section              
 10, subsection 4.  He said it probably should say "a meeting or a           
 business, charitable, or other organization..."                               
                                                                               
 CHAIR JAMES replied, "I think you're right."  That was the intent             
 anyway.  She suggested an amendment.                                          
                                                                               
 CHAIR JAMES called on the next witness in Juneau, Claudia Douglas,            
 President, National Education Association.                                    
                                                                               
 Number 2249                                                                   
                                                                               
 CLAUDIA DOUGLAS, President, National Education Association (NEA),             
 said the NEA opposed CSHB 338(STA) allowing a weapon on school                
 property.  She explain NEA believed the students and school                   
 employees should be safe from violence and weapons and from the               
 threat of violence.  Guns concealed or in the open had no place in            
 school or on school grounds period, she asserted.  Schools should             
 be weapon free and havens of safety for our children and our school           
 employees.  She explained, school systems were dealing with                   
 escalating violence all over the country.  There were increasing              
 reports of students assaulting students or teachers, school                   
 vandalism, and gang violence, and the majority of these reports               
 involved guns.  It not only detracted educators from their main               
 function of educating students, but it was a great psychological              
 impact and economical cost to individuals and society.  People                
 young and old alike had a fascination for guns and violence and               
 cited television shows and recent movies such as Casino, City Hall.           
 She explained violence was a part of the fabric of our lives and              
 our society.  She said she was sure that some of the supporters of            
 this bill would say that this was for law abiding citizens, the               
 responsible citizen who would never hurt anybody intentionally.               
 The reality was, however, that everyday we hear reports of                    
 accidents with guns, and she cited the man that shot a bird that              
 flew into his house where the bullet went through two rooms and hit           
 his wife in the kitchen.  Luckily, she did not die.  She stressed             
 again guns in schools and children do not mix, and schools and                
 school grounds must be gun free.  Many communities and schools were           
 adopting a no tolerance policy for any type of weapons, she                   
 explained.  It seemed illogical and unsettling to believe that in             
 Alaska we would allow a bill to become law that would permit guns             
 anywhere near a school.  She said she understand that this bill was           
 an attempt to simplify the procedures for those who have permits to           
 carry handguns and was not opposed to someone that had a permit and           
 the process established, but was concerned about the greater                  
 problem of a society where the citizens felt a need to carry a                
 handgun.  Furthermore, another problem was enforcement.  Teachers             
 and school employees were not police, and she wondered if someone             
 were seen or suspected of carrying a concealed weapon, was it the             
 responsibility of the school employee to check out the permit?  How           
 would a school employee determine if someone was wearing a                    
 concealed weapon as a law abiding permittee or as someone that was            
 violating the law, she asked?  She further stated there were many             
 gray areas in the bill concerning motorcycles, snowmobiles, and 4-            
 wheelers.  She urged the committee members to amend the CSHB
 338(STA) and reestablish the prohibition of concealed weapons on              
 school grounds.                                                               
                                                                               
 Number 2413                                                                   
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE PORTER moved to adopt CSHB 338(STA) for                        
 consideration.  Hearing no objection, it was so adopted.                      
                                                                               
 Number 2426                                                                   
                                                                               
 CHAIR JAMES asked for a motion to amend the fee from "$65" to "$99"           
 in Section 9.                                                                 
                                                                               
 Number 2438                                                                   
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE PORTER moved that on page 6, line 9, to amend the              
 fee from "$65" to "$99."  Hearing no objection, it was so amended.            
                                                                               
 Number 2450                                                                   
                                                                               
 CHAIR JAMES explained the concern of Ms. Hugonin on page 7, line 4,           
 concerning the language of "a meeting of a business," and asked               
 Representative Porter for a recommendation.                                   
                                                                               
 Number 2471                                                                   
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE PORTER said the intent of the subsection was to not            
 allow a concealed handgun on the property if the business,                    
 charitable or other organization did not want it.  He suggested a             
 conceptual amendment.                                                         
                                                                               
 TAPE 96-22, SIDE B                                                            
 Number 0047                                                                   
                                                                               
 CHAIR JAMES suggested leaving the wordage to the drafter.  She                
 explained she would pass the new committee substitute to the                  
 committee members and if there were any concerns it could be taken-           
 up in the House Judiciary Committee.                                          
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE PORTER commented there were gatherings that did not            
 enter a building, and suggested including the words "property" and            
 "facilities."                                                                 
                                                                               
 CHAIR JAMES wondered about the lines of enforcement.                          
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE PORTER explained they were at the driveway.                    
                                                                               
 CHAIR JAMES asked if there were any objections to the conceptual              
 amendment.  Hearing none, it was so adopted.                                  
                                                                               
 Number 0082                                                                   
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE PORTER moved that CSHB 338(STA) move from committee            
 with individual recommendations and attached fiscal notes.  Hearing           
 no objection, it was so moved from the House State Affairs                    
 Committee.                                                                    
                                                                               

Document Name Date/Time Subjects