Legislature(2009 - 2010)CAPITOL 120

02/10/2010 01:00 PM House JUDICIARY

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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
Moved CSHB 319(JUD) Out of Committee
Heard & Held
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
                       HB 319 - FIREARMS                                                                                    
1:08:54 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR RAMRAS announced that the  first order of business would be                                                               
HOUSE BILL NO. 319, "An Act relating to firearms."                                                                              
1:09:51 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  MIKE HAWKER,  Alaska State  Legislature, sponsor,                                                               
characterized  HB  319 as  another  opportunity  to reaffirm  the                                                               
Second  Amendment rights  of Alaska's  citizens,  adding that  it                                                               
cleans  up  some  sections of  statute  pertaining  to  concealed                                                               
handgun permits.   Specifically, [Section 1]  clarifies that when                                                               
a concealed handgun permit expires  or a permit holder leaves the                                                               
state, the holder doesn't need  to surrender the permit; [Section                                                               
2]  provides that  an  expired concealed  handgun  permit may  be                                                               
displayed as  long as the  permit holder doesn't represent  it as                                                               
being valid; [Section  1] requires that the  Department of Public                                                               
Safety  (DPS) send  permit holders  a  letter, at  least 90  days                                                               
before their permit expires, notifying  them that their permit is                                                               
about  to  expire;  and  [Section   3]  requires  the  chief  law                                                               
enforcement  officer  in a  jurisdiction  to  execute, within  30                                                               
days, the  federal firearms  forms required  for the  transfer of                                                               
certain types of firearms.  A  copy of those forms is included in                                                               
members' packets, and  the forms, in part, require  the chief law                                                               
enforcement  officer to  certify that  he/she has  no information                                                               
that  the transferee  of the  firearm  will use  the firearm  for                                                               
other than lawful  purposes, and no information  that the receipt                                                               
or  possession  of the  firearm  by  the transferee  would  place                                                               
him/her  in violation  of state  or local  law.   He offered  his                                                               
belief,  however, that  some law  enforcement officers  who don't                                                               
approve of  firearms transfers  simply refuse  to fill  out their                                                               
portion  of these  forms.   In  conclusion,  he characterized  HB
319's  proposed  changes  as important  to  Alaska's  law-abiding                                                               
citizens, and  asked for the committee's  favorable consideration                                                               
of the bill.                                                                                                                    
1:18:25 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  HOLMES  asked whether  Section  3  would allow  a                                                               
chief  law enforcement  officer  to refuse  to  sign the  federal                                                               
firearms forms  if he/she  does have reason  to believe  that the                                                               
transferee would use the firearm unlawfully.                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE HAWKER relayed that that would be the case.                                                                      
REPRESENTATIVE  HOLMES  questioned  whether the  title  warranted                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE HAWKER indicated that it did not.                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG noted  that  there  is a  typographical                                                               
error  in  the  law  enforcement  certification  section  of  the                                                               
aforementioned federal firearms forms.                                                                                          
REPRESENTATIVE HAWKER acknowledged that point.                                                                                  
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG  asked  how proposed  AS  18.65.725(e),                                                               
which requires the  DPS to provide notice that  a person's permit                                                               
is going  to expire,  would be effectuated,  what the  cost would                                                               
be, and whether permit holders would  have a duty to keep the DPS                                                               
informed of any address changes.                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  HAWKER said  that permit  holders already  have a                                                               
statutory  duty  to  inform  the  DPS  of  address  changes,  and                                                               
surmised that all which could be asked  of the DPS is to send the                                                               
notification to the permit holder's  last known address; and that                                                               
the fiscal note  provided by the DPS  outlines approximately $900                                                               
in yearly  ongoing costs and approximately  [$37,000] in one-time                                                               
computer programming costs.                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE HAWKER, in response  to a question, explained that                                                               
the federal  Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco,  Firearms and Explosives                                                               
(ATF)  requires  the  aforementioned federal  firearms  forms  to                                                               
include the  law enforcement certification  section, but  a chief                                                               
law enforcement  officer is under  no obligation to fill  it out,                                                               
and Section  3 of HB 319  is intended to ensure  that he/she does                                                               
do so.   In  response to  another question, he  said that  when a                                                               
chief law enforcement officer refuses  to certify that he/she has                                                               
no information  that the transferee  of the firearm will  use the                                                               
firearm for other  than lawful purposes, and  no information that                                                               
the receipt or possession of  the firearm by the transferee would                                                               
place  him/her in  violation  of  state or  local  law, then  the                                                               
transferee has  no legal recourse  and cannot take  possession of                                                               
the  firearm in  question.   He  characterized  such refusals  as                                                               
interfering with people's Second  Amendment rights.  He mentioned                                                               
that currently,  the Anchorage  Police Department  (APD) conducts                                                               
extensive background  checks on transferees before  the chief law                                                               
enforcement officer fills out the certification section.                                                                        
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG expressed  favor  with addressing  this                                                               
issue, characterizing it as a serious problem.                                                                                  
REPRESENTATIVE GATTO  questioned whether  such refusals  would be                                                               
in violation of [the Second Amendment].                                                                                         
REPRESENTATIVE HAWKER declined to venture a response.                                                                           
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG  offered  his understanding  that  such                                                               
refusals  would be  in  violation  of the  Civil  Rights Act  and                                                               
therefore actionable.   In response  to a question,  he indicated                                                               
that  he supports  Section 3.    He then,  again, questioned  how                                                               
proposed AS 18.65.725(e) would be effectuated.                                                                                  
1:37:32 PM                                                                                                                    
DAVID   SCHADE,  Director,   Division   of  Statewide   Services,                                                               
Department of Public Safety (DPS),  explained that as outlined in                                                               
the  DPS's  fiscal   note,  the  DPS  intends   to  automate  the                                                               
notification process such that  the database would systematically                                                               
identify  permits expiring  within  90 days,  and then  generate,                                                               
print, and save  notices of expiration; those  notices would then                                                               
be mailed  to permittees.   In response to further  questions, he                                                               
said that  the DPS  would send  the notices  to the  addresses on                                                               
file, that permittees  are required to notify the  DPS of address                                                               
changes, and that  the DPS would send the notices  but would have                                                               
no way of knowing whether the permittees actually received them.                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GATTO  - noting  that  the  language of  proposed                                                               
18.65.725(e)  says  in  part, "The  department  shall  provide  a                                                               
permittee  with  notice" -  surmised  that  Mr. Schade's  comment                                                               
indicates  that  the  department,  under  certain  circumstances,                                                               
would be unable to comply with the proposed statute.                                                                            
MR. SCHADE acknowledged that that could potentially be the case.                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GATTO indicated that  perhaps that language should                                                               
be changed  such that  the department would  only be  required to                                                               
send the notice of expiration.                                                                                                  
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG asked  whether Section  3 would  create                                                               
compliance problems for the DPS.                                                                                                
1:41:16 PM                                                                                                                    
RODNEY   DIAL,  Lieutenant,   Deputy  Commander,   A  Detachment,                                                               
Division of  Alaska State Troopers,  Department of  Public Safety                                                               
(DPS), indicated that it would not.                                                                                             
1:42:47 PM                                                                                                                    
AUDIE HOLLOWAY,  Colonel, Director,  Central Office,  Division of                                                               
Alaska  State  Troopers,  Department   of  Public  Safety  (DPS),                                                               
concurred, adding that  it would be an exception if  the DPS were                                                               
unable to meet the proposed 30-day deadline.                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG asked  whether any  police chiefs  have                                                               
expressed concern [about Section 3].                                                                                            
REPRESENTATIVE HAWKER  said he  has not  heard any  such concerns                                                               
expressed.   He mentioned  that the turnaround  time for  the APD                                                               
has  generally been  between  4-10  days, and  that  he does  not                                                               
believe  that  the  bill  would  put  any  undue  burden  on  law                                                               
CHAIR  RAMRAS, after  ascertaining  that no  one  else wished  to                                                               
testify, closed public testimony on HB 319.                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG  asked Representative Hawker  whether he                                                               
would be interested in narrowing the title.                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE HAWKER indicated that he would not.                                                                              
1:46:39 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE   GATTO  made   a  motion   to  adopt   Conceptual                                                               
Amendment 1, to delete the term,  "provide a permittee with" from                                                               
page 1, line 4, and insert the term, "mail a".                                                                                  
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG objected,  and  suggested that  instead                                                               
the language being inserted should read, "mail the permittee a".                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GATTO indicated that he  would be amenable to such                                                               
a  change to  Conceptual Amendment  1.   [Although no  motion was                                                               
stated,  Conceptual Amendment  1 was  treated as  having been  so                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG removed his objection.                                                                                 
CHAIR RAMRAS  announced that Conceptual Amendment  1, as amended,                                                               
was adopted.                                                                                                                    
1:47:31 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  RAMRAS made  a motion  to adopt  Amendment 2,  labeled 26-                                                               
LS1273\E.1, Luckhaupt, 2/4/10, which read:                                                                                      
     Page 2, line 8:                                                                                                            
          Delete "a new section"                                                                                                
          Insert "new sections"                                                                                                 
     Page 2, following line 16:                                                                                                 
          Insert a new section to read:                                                                                         
          "Sec. 18.65.820. Checks on firearms while firearm                                                                   
      secured by peace officer during certain contacts. A                                                                     
     peace officer  may not  conduct a  check of  the serial                                                                    
     number of a  firearm being legally carried  by a person                                                                    
     when the firearm has been  secured by the peace officer                                                                    
     under the authority of AS 11.61.220(a)(1)(A)(ii)."                                                                         
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG objected.                                                                                              
CHAIR  RAMRAS  indicated  that  Amendment  2  addresses  concerns                                                               
expressed  to him  regarding a  situation  in which  a person  is                                                               
stopped by a law enforcement  officer who then takes the person's                                                               
firearm away  to check the  serial numbers on  it.  He  asked the                                                               
DPS to explain why Amendment 2 is not necessary.                                                                                
LIEUTENANT DIAL  attempted to  reassure the  committee that  as a                                                               
routine practice, DPS personnel are  not seizing or retaining the                                                               
firearms  of Alaskans  who are  otherwise  committing only  minor                                                               
offenses or  who are  engaged in lawful  outdoor activities.   He                                                               
offered  his understanding  that  the statute  pertaining to  the                                                               
crime of misconduct  involving weapons in the  fifth degree gives                                                               
law enforcement officers the authority  to seize a firearm during                                                               
contact or to ask the person to  secure the firearm.  At the time                                                               
of  contact,  it's  a  judgment call  that  the  law  enforcement                                                               
officer  has  to make  regarding  which  approach  to take.    He                                                               
recounted that on  rare occasion, he himself choose  to seize the                                                               
firearm  because  he felt  that  the  actions of  the  individual                                                               
indicated that it  would be better for that firearm  to be in the                                                               
possession of law  enforcement.  For example, if he  were to stop                                                               
someone who'd  reportedly appeared  to be casing  a neighborhood,                                                               
he would want  to take the person's firearm and  check its serial                                                               
number because,  in many  cases, it  could link  the person  to a                                                               
burglary, and  sometimes multiple  burglaries are solved  in this                                                               
fashion.    He  noted  also  that it  is  not  uncommon  for  law                                                               
enforcement to take possession of  firearms that turn out to have                                                               
been stolen in the Lower 48.                                                                                                    
LIEUTENANT  DIAL characterized  checking  the  serial numbers  of                                                               
firearms as somewhat low on  the intrusiveness scale, since, if a                                                               
serial number doesn't match anything  on the database, the number                                                               
is  not then  linked  to either  a  firearm or  a  person in  the                                                               
database.   He  indicated a  willingness to  research the  policy                                                               
issue raised by Amendment 2  further, to perhaps provide that law                                                               
enforcement officers use discretion  in situations where there is                                                               
no  other  outside  indicator  suggesting   that  the  person  is                                                               
involved in  illegal activity,  but he would  like to  retain the                                                               
authority to seize a firearm  and check its serial number because                                                               
that allows law enforcement officers  to solve a number of crimes                                                               
every year.                                                                                                                     
LIEUTENANT DIAL,  in response  to comments  and a  question, said                                                               
that  as a  routine  policy,  DPS personnel  are  not taking  the                                                               
firearms of  those they stop;  instead, law  enforcement officers                                                               
have become  somewhat immune  to the fact  that most  people have                                                               
firearms.  He added that he  has never met a trooper that doesn't                                                               
support  the  Second Amendment  100  percent.   He  acknowledged,                                                               
though, that because academy graduates  are currently coming into                                                               
the field with a higher level  of officer safety in mind, perhaps                                                               
training issues with  regard to making judgment  calls at routine                                                               
stops could be addressed.                                                                                                       
CHAIR  RAMRAS  asked that  the  DPS's  policy  on this  issue  be                                                               
clarified in writing and provided to the committee.                                                                             
LIEUTENANT DIAL agreed to do so.                                                                                                
CHAIR RAMRAS then withdrew Amendment 2.                                                                                         
1:55:52 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE DAHLSTROM moved to report  HB 319, as amended, out                                                               
of   committee   with    individual   recommendations   and   the                                                               
accompanying  fiscal  notes.   There  being  no  objection,  CSHB
319(JUD)  was   reported  from   the  House   Judiciary  Standing                                                               

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
01 HB316 HJUD Hearing Request.pdf HJUD 2/10/2010 1:00:00 PM
HB 316
02 HB316 Sectional v. A.pdf HJUD 2/10/2010 1:00:00 PM
HB 316
03 HB316 Bill v. A.pdf HJUD 2/10/2010 1:00:00 PM
HB 316
04 HB316-LAW-CRIM-01-28-10.pdf HJUD 2/10/2010 1:00:00 PM
HB 316
05 HB316-DOA-OPA-02-01-10.pdf HJUD 2/10/2010 1:00:00 PM
HB 316
06 HB316-DOA-PDA-02-01-10.pdf HJUD 2/10/2010 1:00:00 PM
HB 316
07 HB316 Innocence Project Analysis.pdf HJUD 2/10/2010 1:00:00 PM
HB 316
08 Alaska Innocents Project COMMITTEELETTER (2).pdf HJUD 2/10/2010 1:00:00 PM
10 DNA Word Matrix revised6.pdf HJUD 2/10/2010 1:00:00 PM
01 HB319 Sponsor Statement.pdf HJUD 2/10/2010 1:00:00 PM
HB 319
02 HB319 Bill v A.pdf HJUD 2/10/2010 1:00:00 PM
HB 319
03 HB319 Sectional.pdf HJUD 2/10/2010 1:00:00 PM
HB 319
04 HB319-LAW-CRIM-02-04-10.pdf HJUD 2/10/2010 1:00:00 PM
HB 319
05 HB319 Background.pdf HJUD 2/10/2010 1:00:00 PM
HB 319