Legislature(2001 - 2002)

04/12/2001 08:14 AM STA

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
SJR 17 - FEDERAL GUN POLICIES                                                                                                 
Number 2661                                                                                                                     
CHAIR COGHILL  announced that the  next order of  business before                                                               
the  committee  would  be  CS FOR  SENATE  JOINT  RESOLUTION  NO.                                                               
17(STA), Relating to requesting  that President Bush renounce and                                                               
reverse  Clinton Administration  anti-gun-ownership policies  and                                                               
reorient  the   United  States  Department  of   Justice  towards                                                               
policies  that  accurately  reflect  the  intent  of  the  Second                                                               
Amendment to  the United States Constitution  to grant individual                                                               
Americans the right to keep and bear arms.                                                                                      
SENATOR DAVE  DONLEY, Alaska State  Legislature, came  forward to                                                               
testify  as  sponsor of  SJR  17.    He  called attention  to  an                                                               
enclosure in members' packets pertaining  to a discussion between                                                               
a  United  States attorney  and  a  federal judge  regarding  the                                                               
government's position on  the meaning of the  second Amendment to                                                               
the  United States  Constitution.    He said  when  he read  that                                                               
transcript,  he was  convinced that  it was  appropriate for  the                                                               
Alaska State  Legislature to  ask President  Bush to  change that                                                               
policy  on the  part  of  the Justice  Department  of the  United                                                               
States.   The packet  also contains a  letter from  the Solicitor                                                               
General of  the United States  confirming that it was  the policy                                                               
of  the   Justice  Department  under  the   previous  President's                                                               
administration  that the  Second Amendment  guaranteed absolutely                                                               
no right  to citizens to keep  and bear arms; that  it only meant                                                               
that members of  the National Guard could keep and  bear arms and                                                               
even  they were  not  allowed  to privately  own  guns, but  only                                                               
allowed to keep them at the National Guard armory.                                                                              
Number 2598                                                                                                                     
SENATOR  DONLEY  said he  thinks  that  position is  contrary  to                                                               
scholarly  interpretations of  the Second  Amendment and  to what                                                               
most Americans  believe it means.   He recalled that a  few years                                                               
ago,  Alaskans  overwhelmingly voted  in  favor  of amending  the                                                               
state  Constitution  to  very  clearly state  that  there  is  an                                                               
individual right  to keep and bear  arms.  He explained  that SJR
17 calls for President Bush to  try to reverse that policy on the                                                               
part of the Justice Department  and "to more accurately recognize                                                               
the true  meaning of  the Second Amendment  of the  United States                                                               
CHAIR COGHILL  asked Senator Donley  if he thinks  the resolution                                                               
is  being sent  to enough  people.   He noted  that it  lists the                                                               
members of Congress, the President, and the Vice President.                                                                     
SENATOR DONLEY said he thought it  was the correct list of people                                                               
and  that he  also was  going to  send it  to state  legislatures                                                               
around the  nation because he thinks  it is a national  issue and                                                               
that  it  is appropriate  to  stick  up  for  the rights  of  all                                                               
CHAIR COGHILL asked him if that was a commitment.                                                                               
SENATOR DONLEY  said yes, that  it was his  intent to send  it to                                                               
the presiding  officers of  all the state  legislatures.   If the                                                               
House State  Affairs Standing  Committee wished  to add  that, he                                                               
thinks it would be appropriate.                                                                                                 
Number 2514                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE  JAMES  moved  to   adopt  that  as  a  conceptual                                                               
CHAIR COGHILL stated the conceptual amendment as:                                                                               
          "to send it to the presiding officer of each                                                                          
     legislative body in every other 49 states."                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  JAMES  said  she   thought  it  should  refer  to                                                               
There  was no  objection  to the  conceptual  amendment to  CSSJR
Number 2588                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE  HAYES moved  to report  CSSJR 17(STA)  as amended                                                               
out  of   committee  with  individual  recommendations   and  the                                                               
accompanying zero  fiscal note.   There being no objection,   HCS                                                               
CSSJR 17(STA)  was moved  from the  House State  Affairs Standing                                                               
[Although the  motion that  carried should  have moved  HCS CSSJR
17(STA) out of the House  State Affairs Standing Committee, CSSJR
17(STA) was reported  instead to the Chief Clerk  as having moved                                                               
from the committee.]                                                                                                            
CHAIR  COGHILL  declared  a  brief  at-ease at  9:15  a.m.    The                                                               
committee was called back to order at 9:17 a.m.                                                                                 

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