Legislature(1995 - 1996)

10/05/1995 09:00 AM STA

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
txt
                                                                               
     HB 338 & SB 177 (CONCEALED HANDGUN PERMIT AMENDMENTS)                    
                                                                              
   REPRESENTATIVE JEANNETTE JAMES, Chair of the House State Affairs          
 Committee, called the joint meeting of the Senate and House State             
 Affairs Committees to order in the Anchorage Legislative                      
 Information Office conference room at 9:00 a.m.                               
                                                                               
 In her opening remarks, Chair James noted she sponsored the                   
 original legislation relating to permits for the carrying of a                
 concealed handgun, which was signed into law in July 1994, and HB             
 338 and SB 177 are revisions to that legislation.                             
                                                                               
 Chair James outlined the following revisions contained in HB 338:             
                                                                               
 1.  Deletes the fingerprint requirement and substitute a                      
     criminal background record check of available state and federal           
     databases.                                                                
                                                                               
 2.  Deletes FBI investigation and change department's time                    
     limit for approval from 15 to 30 days.                                    
                                                                               
 3.  Deletes requirement to qualify with specific action                       
     types and calibers of handguns.                                           
                                                                               
 4.  Changes residency requirement from one year to 90 days.                   
                                                                               
 5.  Changes application fee cap from $125 to $65; change                      
     renewal fee cap from $50 to $25.                                          
                                                                               
 6.  Changes demonstration of competence with a handgun to                     
     require one of the following:                                             
                                                                               
     (1)  successful completion of a:                                          
                                                                               
          (a)  Hunter or firearms education course or hunter or                
               firearms safety course approved by the Department of            
               Fish and Game, the Department of Public Safety, or              
               similar agencies of another state;                              
                                                                               
          (b)  National Rifle Association firearms safety or                   
               training course;                                                
                                                                               
          (c)  Firearms safety or training course or class                     
               available to the general public offered by a law                
               enforcement, university or college, or private or               
               public institution or organization of firearms                  
               training school utilizing instructors certified by              
               the National Rifle Association or the Alaska                    
               Department of Public Safety;                                    
                                                                               
          (d)  Law enforcement firearms safety or training course              
               or class offered for security guards, investigators,            
               or a division or subdivision of a law enforcement or            
               security enforcement; and                                       
                                                                               
          (e)  Firearms safety or training course or class                     
               conducted by a state certified or National Rifle                
               Association certified firearms instructor.                      
                                                                               
     (2)  Presentation of evidence of experience with a handgun,               
          equivalent to any of the courses or classes above,                   
          through participation in organized shooting competition              
          or military service;                                                 
                                                                               
     (3)  Presentation of evidence that the applicant is licensed              
          or has been licensed to carry a handgun in this state,               
          unless the license has been revoked for cause.                       
                                                                               
 7.  Deletes from the definition of "competence" the ability to                
     place in a life size silhouette target 7 out of 10 shots at 7             
     yards and 6 out of 10 shots at 15 yards.                                  
                                                                               
 8.  Adds to list of convictions which would prohibit qualification            
     for a concealed handgun permit:  "In a public or private place,           
     the person challenges another to fight or engages in fighting             
     other than in self-defense."                                              
                                                                               
 9.  Changes the list of places where a concealed handgun may not be           
     carried:  A concealed handgun may be carried in a building                
     which houses a state or federal office as long as it is not               
     carried into the state or federal office itself.                          
                                                                               
 10. Provides that a copy of laws and regulations is provided with             
     each application form.                                                    
                                                                               
 11. Also contains a few other minor language changes.                         
                                                                               
 Number 090                                                                    
                                                                               
 CHAIR JAMES then opened the meeting to public testimony from                  
 witnesses present in Anchorage, as well as witnesses waiting to               
 testify from the participating legislative teleconference sites,              
 and she requested that witnesses limit their testimony to three               
 minutes.                                                                      
                                                                               
 Sandy Perry-Provost, representing the Department of Public Safety,            
 and Carla Timpone, staff to Representative Robinson, informed the             
 committee they were present at the Juneau teleconference site                 
 monitoring the meeting.                                                       
                                                                               
 Number 110                                                                    
                                                                               
 The first witness to testify was Jack Phelps who worked with the              
 sponsor in the drafting of the original concealed handgun                     
 legislation.                                                                  
                                                                               
 JACK PHELPS of Anchorage, representing himself, stated he is a life           
 member of the National Rifle Association (NRA), as well as an                 
 instructor certified by the Department of Public Safety to provide            
 the training that is specified in the current law for a concealed             
 carry permit.                                                                 
                                                                               
 MR. PHELPS said when the original legislation was being put                   
 together, while it enjoyed tremendous widespread support, including           
 the support of a number of police officers, there was difficulty              
 with the higher levels of the Department of Public Safety in their            
 concerns with the legislation, however, their response to the new             
 law has been very good.  He encouraged members to assure the                  
 department that the revisions to the law are not in any way                   
 criticisms of the department with respect to their enforcement of             
 the law.                                                                      
                                                                               
 Speaking to a technical concern with the legislation, Mr. Phelps              
 said that in current law, the demonstration of competency is                  
 demonstrated to the department at the time of application through             
 a certificate issued by the trainer.  Paragraphs (2) and (3) of               
 Section 7 require the presentation of evidence, but there is no               
 requirement that any evidence of training be presented to the                 
 department if it is being done under subsection (a).  The result is           
 that it provides that there is still a certificate that has to be             
 presented at renewal, but not a certificate that has to be                    
 presented at initial application, unless using a couple of                    
 alternatives: evidence of experience, or the reciprocity section.             
 He is concerned that in existing subsection (c), where it requires            
 certificate of confidence for renewal, the section that would                 
 prohibit from including identifying information about handguns                
 owned is taken out.  He urged that the deleted language in Section            
 3, subsection (d) which provides that the permit must specify                 
 action types, remain deleted, but not to delete the prohibition               
 against specifying handguns owned.  He also offered to provide                
 alternative language to the committee that addresses the problems             
 he had outlined.                                                              
                                                                               
 Number 205                                                                    
                                                                               
 WAYNE ROSS of Anchorage, representing himself, stated he is a                 
 director with the National Rifle Association and that he holds a              
 concealed weapons permit from the state of Alaska.  He pointed out            
 that despite his NRA training, his military training, his 35 years            
 of experience with firearms, he still had to sit through a very               
 long 12 hours to get a permit in Alaska.                                      
                                                                               
 MR. ROSS expressed his appreciation for the original concealed                
 weapons permit legislation, and said HB 338 is a good step forward            
 to clean the bill up substantially.  However, he said he disagrees            
 with Mr. Phelps' comment about the cooperation from the Department            
 of Public Safety, because he believes the Knowles Administration              
 has an anti-gun agenda, which he believes is evident from the                 
 regulations.  He suggested retaining the law that provides that the           
 regulations can't be more stringent than the laws that were enacted           
 by the legislature.  He pointed out there is a lawsuit pending                
 which challenges the current regulations, but he believes the new             
 legislation will help rectify that situation.                                 
                                                                               
 Number 250                                                                    
                                                                               
 HARRY BUCILLI of Anchorage, owner of a fingerprinting business and            
 a former police officer, said there have been some negative                   
 comments on fingerprinting, and a lot of people feel that it is an            
 infringement on their personal rights, etc., but fingerprinting is            
 also a protection for the people that do carry handguns.  He said             
 a comment was made that the FBI does not need a set of fingerprints           
 to identify an applicant's criminal background, but he believes               
 they are needed.  A name check by the FBI is only done if a set of            
 prints is so bad that they cannot be identified.  Also, a name                
 check, basically, is about 20 percent accurate.  He said the                  
 fingerprints are used to look for people, and he cautioned that if            
 that is taken away, anybody is going to be able to get these                  
 permits and he does not want a convicted felon being issued a                 
 permit.                                                                       
                                                                               
 Number 300                                                                    
                                                                               
 BERNARD GOODNO, testifying from Delta Junction, stated the U.S.               
 Constitution is the supreme law of the land.  He said the Supreme             
 Court has made all kinds of rulings and they have said the state              
 cannot take a secured liberty, which is a constitutional right and            
 turn it into a privilege, issue a license and then can punish an              
 individual if he believes he is exercising a constitutional right.            
 He believes the permit system is illegal and should be repealed.              
                                                                               
 Number 325                                                                    
                                                                               
 GENE CARLEY of Anchorage, stated his support for the reductions in            
 the application fee cap and the renewal fee cap, pointing out that            
 many people are on fixed incomes and have limited means.  He                  
 observed that no one who has demonstrated himself clearly and                 
 beyond any question to be law abiding and to be observant of the              
 general rules of society under which we live is trusted by this               
 state government to wear a concealed firearm into state buildings,            
 offices, etc., which shows a terrible distrust by the government of           
 what the government has demonstrated are law-abiding citizens.                
 Also, while he does not like the idea of fingerprints, he believes            
 they are a reasonable necessity in the case of concealed handgun              
 permitting.                                                                   
                                                                               
 Number 375                                                                    
                                                                               
 TIM SCHRAGE of Anchorage, stated he is a permit holder and a small            
 business owner who depends on his concealed weapon, not only for              
 his personal safety, but for the safety of his business as well.              
 Every day he makes a trip to the bank, but when he gets to the                
 bank, he has to leave his weapon inside his vehicle, which places             
 it in a position where it could be stolen and used by someone who             
 doesn't have a permit.  He said he has a fundamental problem with             
 that; he has proven that he is a legitimate law-abiding citizen,              
 yet he can't carry his weapon 100 yards to the bank.  He also noted           
 that under current law, he can't eat in most restaurants if he has            
 his weapon on him because they have beverage dispensary licenses.             
                                                                               
 It was pointed out that the law provides that he can carry that               
 weapon into such an establishment if the weapon is not loaded.                
                                                                               
 Number 470                                                                    
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE BRIAN PORTER pointed out that there may be a problem           
 with federal law as it relates to banks, notwithstanding what the             
 state law does.                                                               
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE SCOTT OGAN commented that he is also a concealed               
 handgun permit holder and he, too, is uneasy about leaving his gun            
 in his locked vehicle because of the possibility of it being                  
 stolen.                                                                       
                                                                               
 Number 525                                                                    
                                                                               
 BOB PARKERSON, testifying from the Mat-Su Legislative Information             
 Office (LIO), stated he had faxed his testimony to the committee,             
 but he did want to address his concern that fingerprinting goes to            
 the FBI and they know the reason for the fingerprinting, which he             
 does not believe is any of their business and that it is an                   
 invasion of privacy.  However, he believes the training classes               
 that are given for carrying a concealed weapon are extremely                  
 important and that aspect should be retained in the law.  He would            
 also like to see reciprocity with other states concerning permits.            
                                                                               
 Number 585                                                                    
                                                                               
 LADD MCBRIDE, testifying from Fairbanks as a private citizen,                 
 stated his support for the revisions in HB 338 and SB 177, as well            
 as any additional changes that would reduce the inconvenience and             
 cost to those law-abiding citizens who wish to carry concealed                
 weapons.  He hopes the changes will send a message to the                     
 bureaucrats that their interpretations of the statutes passed by              
 the legislature will be tempered with not only common sense, but to           
 take care not to overstep the intent of the statutes.  He reminded            
 the committee to keep in mind that they are regulating the law-               
 abiding citizens and cannot regulate the criminal who would                   
 probably not apply for this permit to begin with.                             
                                                                               
 Number 625                                                                    
                                                                               
 LEONARD SCHULTZ, testifying in Anchorage, stressed the importance             
 of giving the authorities what they need to strike down criminals.            
 He believes law enforcement needs all the tools they can get to               
 take care of crime and to protect the public.  He voiced his                  
 opposition to changing the fingerprinting provision in the law.               
                                                                               
 Number 658                                                                    
                                                                               
 ALLAN COUSENS, testifying in Anchorage, stated he and his wife are            
 permit holders and that it cost them approximately $300 in fees to            
 get those permits.  He spoke highly of the training classes.                  
 However, he suggested a change be made to the Alaska law so that              
 a person who is approved to carry a concealed weapon can carry that           
 weapon anywhere.  He spoke to the inconvenience of having to leave            
 his weapon in his vehicle when going to a bank, etc.  Also, he                
 would like to see the part of the law which gives municipalities or           
 villages the ability to enact legislation to prohibit the carrying            
 of a concealed weapon changed because he believes the law should be           
 consistent statewide so that if he has a permit to carry a weapon             
 in Anchorage, he can also carry that weapon anywhere else in the              
 state.                                                                        
                                                                               
                                                                               
 TAPE 95-29, SIDE B                                                            
 Number 001                                                                    
                                                                               
 R.G. HOHNSTEIN, testifying in Anchorage, stated he has been a                 
 military instructor, but he believes Governor Knowles and others in           
 law enforcement are against firearms.  He spoke in favor of                   
 fingerprinting and being the given the ability to carry a concealed           
 weapon when going to a financial institution.  He believes the                
 requirement for a hunter or education course should be expanded to            
 include a course on personal protection.  He also believes the size           
 of the targets should be smaller with some kind of time limit.                
                                                                               
 Number 042                                                                    
                                                                               
 ROBERT NESVICK, JR., a retired state trooper and former police                
 chief of the Annette Island Reserve testifying from Ketchikan,                
 requested consideration of adding an amendment that honorably                 
 retired law enforcement officers, with the appropriate                        
 identification issued from their department, be exempt from the               
 permit process and be able to continue carrying the weapon they               
 have carried over the years while they were working.  He pointed              
 out that Oregon and California currently allow this and there may             
 be other states as well.  He also noted that the U.S. Congress,               
 with SB 960 and HB 218, is considering doing this on a nationwide             
 basis for current and retired law enforcement officers.  He also              
 encouraged that the current qualification requirements in the                 
 permitting process still be required every five years to keep the             
 person qualified.                                                             
                                                                               
 Number 070                                                                    
                                                                               
 RUSSELL KELL, testifying in Anchorage, said a letter to Senator               
 Green from the Department of Public Safety does not point out that            
 the state of Vermont, which has a similar population to Alaska, has           
 absolutely no permit requirement, but they do allow the carrying of           
 concealed weapons.  He said they don't seem to have any significant           
 problem in catching criminals without fingerprinting all the people           
 that decide to carry handguns.  He stated he is more concerned with           
 the probable crimes at Ruby Ridge or Waco as a threat to our                  
 society than he is from citizens who may be criminals.  He                    
 suggested that if the Department of Public Safety is concerned with           
 reciprocity they could suggest an amendment to the law that would             
 allow a citizen of Alaska who wants reciprocity to submit                     
 fingerprints.                                                                 
                                                                               
 Number 110                                                                    
                                                                               
 DOUGLAS VANWINGERDEN of Wasilla, testifying from the Mat-Su LIO,              
 voiced his support for the revisions to the permit fees, which he             
 believes are currently too high.  He also believes that the                   
 restrictions relating to where individuals can carry handguns is              
 putting the honest law-abiding citizen at a disadvantage; he has              
 already proven that he is a law-abiding citizen when going through            
 the process to obtain that permit.                                            
                                                                               
 Number 120                                                                    
                                                                               
 MIKE MASTERS of Soldotna, testifying from the Soldotna LIO, agreed            
 with the previous speaker's comments.  He said he has a permit, but           
 the restrictions in the current law on where he can carry a                   
 concealed handgun have discouraged him, in most cases, from                   
 carrying one, and he suggested making it less restrictive.                    
                                                                               
 Number 135                                                                    
                                                                               
 JIM CHAPMAN of Soldotna, testifying from the Soldotna LIO,                    
 concurred with earlier testimony that the current fees are too high           
 and that places where handguns can be carried is too restrictive.             
 He also believes that as long as an individual qualifies he should            
 be able to have that permit for life instead of having to renew it            
 every five years.                                                             
                                                                               
 Number 145                                                                    
                                                                               
 RAY CARR of Kenai, testifying from the Soldotna LIO, stated that as           
 an instructor, his main concern is the training.  He does not                 
 believe that the hunter or firearm education course will help for             
 concealed carry because they don't go into handguns, or drawing,              
 etc.  He believes the training should be specific for someone                 
 carrying a concealed handgun.                                                 
                                                                               
 Number 155                                                                    
                                                                               
 EMERY CUPPLES of Anchorage stated he paid $122 to the State Trooper           
 licensing division to get his concealed handgun permit and he is              
 completely happy with the way the system is right now.  However, he           
 wanted to go on record that if the legislation gets passed, the               
 state of Alaska owes him $57.  He believes that if the law is going           
 to be changed, it should be made fair for everybody that has                  
 complied.  He questioned what's the good of a concealed handgun               
 permit if it can't be packed all of the time.  He also spoke in               
 support of fingerprinting.                                                    
                                                                               
 Number 210                                                                    
                                                                               
 BRUCE OCKRASA of Anchorage, a NRA member and instructor, stated               
 people have a lot of different rights.  He said if an individual              
 goes to a handgun show and buys a gun, within a couple of hours it            
 is legal for the individual to walk out of there with the gun.  He            
 questioned why there is such a great difference in requirements in            
 being able to own a gun and then being able to carry that gun in              
 your pocket.  He believes education is advantageous and should be             
 encouraged, but that it should not be legislated.                             
                                                                               
 Number 250                                                                    
                                                                               
 CHUCK MAXSON of Anchorage voiced support for cutting the cost of              
 obtaining a concealed handgun permit.  However, as a former                   
 gunner's mate in the U.S. Navy, he believes training for some                 
 people is unnecessary if they have had previous weapons training.             
 He suggested keeping in the fingerprinting requirement.                       
                                                                               
 Number 271                                                                    
                                                                               
 CLYDE BROUMLEY of Wasilla stated he was an employee of the                    
 Department of Corrections, but that he was testifying on his own              
 behalf.  He believes that it is the individual's responsibility to            
 be proficient, not the state's responsibility to ensure that, and             
 that fingerprinting is unnecessary.  He expressed his appreciation            
 for the legislation, stating he believes it is on the right track.            
                                                                               
 Number 310                                                                    
                                                                               
 CHUCK PARKER of Anchorage stated his support for the revisions in             
 HB 338 and SB 177.  He stated his strong objection to                         
 fingerprinting because it is an invasion of an individual's                   
 privacy, and he believes the restrictions on where a concealed                
 handgun can be carried should be reduced.                                     
                                                                               
 Number 326                                                                    
                                                                               
 MICHAEL COONS of Palmer stated he was testifying on behalf of                 
 himself and his wife and that he would submit written testimony for           
 the record.  He questioned why 15 days was being added on to the              
 department's time limit for approval when other states can do an              
 NCIC check in 45 seconds.  He also questioned if engaging in                  
 fighting, which is being added to the list of convictions which               
 would prohibit qualification for a permit, would be a felony                  
 conviction.  He spoke in support of the revised training                      
 requirement, which he said will reward those who have already taken           
 firearms training courses by not requiring an additional cost.  For           
 those who have not had any firearms training, these revisions will            
 help in a statewide firearms safety overall with minimal cost to              
 the applicant.                                                                
                                                                               
 Number 390                                                                    
                                                                               
 EUGENE MURPHY, an Anchorage attorney speaking on his own behalf,              
 said he flinches when he hears the terms "concealed weapons" and              
 "concealed weapons permit" because those permits are only for                 
 handguns.  He pointed out that one of the anomalies of the law is             
 that it allows an individual, when licensed, to carry a heavy                 
 caliber handgun, but not such a thing as a hunting knife or other             
 things defined as a deadly weapon.  He urged that reciprocity be              
 considered and adopted.  He also stated it is wrong that a person             
 who has only been charged with a crime have his permit lifted,                
 because our society has this presumption of innocence.  He urged              
 that it be changed to a person must be convicted of such a crime              
 before having the permit lifted.  He also urged that retired police           
 officers not be given special privileges for carrying concealed               
 handguns.                                                                     
                                                                               
 Number 552                                                                    
                                                                               
 ROBERT WISEMAN of Soldotna, testifying from the Soldotna LIO,                 
 stated his belief that the legislation would be a great disservice            
 to all Alaskans, because it would go a long way in taking so much             
 of the integrity out of the program that so many worked so very               
 hard for.  He noted he is a NRA certified instructor for the                  
 firearms safety course, and he invited any interested persons to              
 participate in the course, attend the classes because they would              
 see why this NRA class requires a 12-hour course and why this                 
 integrity needs to be maintained.  He also urged working toward               
 reciprocity for the concealed carry program.                                  
                                                                               
 Number 630                                                                    
                                                                               
 JIM DORE of Anchorage pointed out that Vermont's law relating to              
 the right to carry a concealed handgun involves no permit, no fee             
 and no background check; the people there are free to defend                  
 themselves as they see fit.  He also pointed out that Alaska's                
 Constitution states that the individual's right to keep and bear              
 arms shall not be denied or infringed.  He stated should any                  
 restrictions be put on Alaskans' right to carry arms, legislators             
 would be violating their oath of office.  Therefore, the current              
 law is unconstitutional and must be repealed, he said.                        
                                                                               
 Number 662                                                                    
                                                                               
 GENE EMERY of Anchorage stated he is a federal firearms dealer and            
 he must submit fingerprints for federal firearms, and he thinks the           
 fingerprint requirement should be kept for anybody that cannot show           
 where they have got their fingerprints on file.  Speaking as a                
 senior citizen, he believes the permit for a senior citizen should            
 be free just like the hunting and fishing permit, and that it                 
 should be for life.  He said senior citizens are the most subject             
 victims of crime, and the requirements for them should be brought             
 down to the senior citizens that may be sick in bed, confined to              
 wheelchairs, etc., but who still have the physical ability to use             
 a gun.                                                                        
                                                                               
 TAPE 95-30, SIDE A                                                            
 Number 038                                                                    
                                                                               
 RAY WOODMANSEE of Anchorage spoke to his concern with the                     
 restrictions of where a concealed weapon can be carried.  Although            
 he agrees that guns and alcohol do not mix, he finds it an                    
 imposition to have to leave his weapon in the car when he goes into           
 any number of restaurants in town that serve alcohol.  He suggested           
 it could be further defined to the point where nobody can carry a             
 concealed weapon if they are drinking at all.                                 
                                                                               
 Number 060                                                                    
                                                                               
 STUART REDER of Anchorage said that the utility of the permit                 
 process for up close self-defense is severely undermined by the               
 restrictions on where a gun can be carried.  He said we have the              
 permit to demonstrate that we are law-abiding citizens who are                
 competent to handle a handgun.                                                
                                                                               
 Number 085                                                                    
                                                                               
 DAVID MARSHALL, testifying from the Ketchikan LIO, stated that he             
 is the manager of a sports retail shop in Ketchikan that also sells           
 firearms.  He said the shop received an ATF news release from San             
 Francisco saying that concealed handgun permit requirements meet              
 the requirement of the Brady Bill, which allows a person who has a            
 handgun permit to purchase a gun over the counter.  However, he               
 said the problem he came across is that he has no way of telling              
 him how to do it, and he suggested putting some guidance into the             
 legislation giving some guidance as to how to go about issuing the            
 handgun to the person.  He also suggested the legislation should              
 contain a provision relating to specific training in the area of              
 handgun safety such as for security guards.                                   
                                                                               
 Number 120                                                                    
                                                                               
 BOB LOCHMAN, a retired Alaska State Trooper and a NRA certified               
 firearms instructor testifying in Anchorage, stated he basically              
 supports the revisions to the law, but does have concern with two             
 areas of the current statute.  One is with the restriction of                 
 having to leave the handgun in a parked car if entering a bank, a             
 public building, etc.  His other area of concern is that he thinks            
 the system costs too much in time and money for the individual                
 trying to get a permit.  He questioned why a concealed carry permit           
 needs so much identification and costs so much more than a drivers            
 license.                                                                      
                                                                               
 Number 186                                                                    
                                                                               
 DOROTHY BROUMLEY of Wasilla, testifying from the Anchorage LIO,               
 said she worked the graveyard shift at a 7-11 and was held up by a            
 young man with a knife.  He told the police his intention was to              
 get the $25 that was in the cash register and then he was going to            
 kill her so there would be no witnesses.  She recently quit her               
 job, shortly after a young lady was killed in Fairbanks.  She does            
 not believe there should be so many regulations on her ownership              
 and use of a gun; she believes they should be the simplest                    
 regulations that will still provide the state with the safety it              
 needs to have.  She stated her support for the revisions in the               
 legislation.                                                                  
                                                                               
 Number 220                                                                    
                                                                               
 ROBERT HILLIKER, testifying from Delta Junction, stated he                    
 appreciates what's trying to be accomplished with the legislation,            
 however, he believes Alaskans are guaranteed by the U.S.                      
 Constitution and the Alaska Constitution the right to keep or own             
 and carry arms.  He believes that state governments do not have the           
 right to take individuals' rights and make them a privilege and               
 charge money for it.  Also, there should not be restrictions on               
 where an individual may carry a concealed handgun.                            
                                                                               
 Number 255                                                                    
                                                                               
 MICHAEL PAOLETTI of Anchorage stated he has been a permit holder              
 for approximately seven months, and he pointed out that he has to             
 remove his concealed and loaded handgun and leave it in his                   
 unattended vehicle several times during his daily activities.  He             
 also pointed out that he knows couples who would like to apply for            
 permits, but are unable to because of the costs.  He does a lot of            
 camping and often uses the Alaska Marine Highway as a means of                
 transportation, and he finds the restriction of not being able to             
 carry his concealed handgun an inconvenience.                                 
                                                                               
 Number 295                                                                    
                                                                               
 RANDY SMITH of Anchorage, a certified NRA instructor, stated his              
 support for HB 338 and SB 177, and believes they address many of              
 the problems the program has had in the past, the biggest problem             
 being the restrictions on where a concealed handgun can be carried.           
 He noted that as an instructor he has denied and not given course             
 completion certificates to a few individuals strictly because of              
 where their heads are at.  He said many people do not understand              
 what the law is, and, because of that, there is a real need for               
 them to take the concealed carry class.  He also believes that                
 people with military experience should be required to take the                
 concealed carry courses, because military training with firearms is           
 100 percent different than training to carry a concealed handgun in           
 civilian life.  He emphasized that having all the restrictions on             
 where a concealed handgun can be carried is really taking away from           
 the spirit of having a concealed carry.                                       
                                                                               
 Number 375                                                                    
                                                                               
 CHAIR JAMES asked Mr. Smith what he thinks can be done that will              
 encourage people to take the class, whether or not they are                   
 interested in carrying a concealed handgun, because there is some             
 very valuable information in the class on personal protection.                
                                                                               
 MR. SMITH responded, basically, through education, and this state             
 needs to push firearm safety.  It is estimated there is a firearm             
 in approximately 85 percent of the homes in the state of Alaska.              
 The state needs to push organizations or entities like the                    
 Anchorage School District to provide training for firearm awareness           
 and firearm safety in the elementary schools and the junior highs.            
 He added that he encourages couples to take his class, and he                 
 thinks it is really important that if there is a firearm in the               
 home, that as many people in that home that are going to be exposed           
 to that firearm have the information and the training that the                
 class provides.                                                               
                                                                               
 Number 427                                                                    
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE PORTER asked Mr. Smith if he was in opposition to              
 the portion of the bills that would eliminate the requirement for             
 a demonstration of physical competency with a firearm.                        
                                                                               
 MR. SMITH acknowledged that was correct.  He thinks it is very                
 important that people demonstrate that physical competency with an            
 instructor.  He believes it is important that the instructors have            
 the ability to sit there and make sure an individual is handling              
 that gun safely.                                                              
                                                                               
 Number 400                                                                    
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE GREEN asked Mr. Smith if he is in opposition to                
 reciprocity because there are other states that don't require the             
 kind of scrutiny that is required in Alaska.                                  
                                                                               
 MR. SMITH responded that he is opposed to reciprocity with states             
 that don't require the kind of scrutiny that is required in Alaska,           
 but he doesn't have a problem with the states that do have the                
 training requirements.                                                        
                                                                               
 Number 475                                                                    
                                                                               
 CHAIR JAMES pointed out that most of the people that live in this             
 country are responsible, and she questioned if it is necessary to             
 put them at a disadvantage because some aren't.                               
                                                                               
 MR. SMITH responded it was a very complex question, but he pointed            
 out that when a person applies for his first drivers license, there           
 is a requirement that a written test be passed, as well as getting            
 behind the wheel and demonstrating driving competency.  He said a             
 drivers license is a privilege and the concealed carry permit is a            
 privilege under the state law.  The Constitution gives people the             
 right to keep and bear arms, but it does not specify bearing those            
 arms concealed.                                                               
                                                                               
 Number 518                                                                    
 SENATOR DAVE DONLEY said the question has come up about how many              
 hours of training is really necessary, and asked if Mr. Smith                 
 thought it could be shortened.                                                
                                                                               
 MR. SMITH answered that the requirement is 12 hours, and the NRA              
 course they teach is a 12-hour course.  However, he ends up                   
 teaching about 13 1/2 hours to cover all the material that he                 
 thinks is necessary and his students find that is necessary for               
 them to understand what is going on.                                          
                                                                               
 Number 570                                                                    
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE IVAN IVAN commented that looking at this from a                
 rural perspective and the small villages he represents, it is                 
 common knowledge that every family carries firearms of some type              
 for hunting and subsistence purposes.  However, his concern is the            
 impact he sees coming to those areas because of their isolation               
 from centers like Anchorage and Fairbanks where this training is              
 available.                                                                    
                                                                               
 CHAIR JAMES agreed it is a difficult issue to address, but it is              
 one that needs to be addressed in some way.                                   
                                                                               
 Number 646                                                                    
                                                                               
 JAMES CLARK of Wasilla, testifying in Anchorage, stated he has                
 taken the NRA course and has a concealed handgun permit.  He has              
 been a minister and a missionary for a number of years ministering            
 in the villages of Chalkyitsik and Fort Yukon.  He has carried a              
 firearm as a pilot as a survival need.  He has been accosted by               
 intoxicated people and has been threatened, but he has never had to           
 draw a firearm or even infer that he was carrying a firearm.  He              
 believes this country has been a nation of freedoms, not a nation             
 of restrictions, and laws are designed for protection sake, not for           
 restriction sake.  The more restrictions there are, the more                  
 probability there is that any given person, at some point in time,            
 will become a law violator almost inadvertently.                              
                                                                               
 TAPE 95-30, SIDE B                                                            
 Number 004                                                                    
                                                                               
 Continuing his testimony, Mr. Clark said he admires Senator Green's           
 outline of what her modification to the Senate bill is because it             
 sets forth simplicity, not complexity.                                        
                                                                               
 Number 055                                                                    
                                                                               
 DREW VILLANI of Anchorage commended the committee for holding the             
 meeting because he believes it is an issue everybody should be                
 concerned about.  He believes in the individual's right to keep and           
 bear arms, and he also believes the fingerprinting rule is                    
 essentially defacto registration.  He said he agrees with the                 
 provision in the bill that allows concealed carry into air                    
 terminals where it is not prohibited by the posting of signs                  
 because the people who work there and the people who go to conduct            
 lawful business at the terminal should not be precluded from the              
 right to defend themselves.                                                   
                                                                               
 Number 120                                                                    
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE OGAN noted that the one issue heard throughout the             
 testimony has been the fact that people are having problems with              
 the restrictions of where they can carry a concealed weapon, and he           
 believes there are some appropriate changes in this legislation.              
                                                                               
 Number 128                                                                    
                                                                               
 SENATOR BERT SHARP expressed his appreciation for the informative             
 testimony presented to the committee and said SB 177, which is in             
 the Senate State Affairs Committee would probably be scheduled for            
 a hearing early in the upcoming legislative session.                          
                                                                               
 Number 158                                                                    
                                                                               
 CHAIR JAMES said when she filed the original concealed handgun                
 legislation, she felt that whether people were in danger out there            
 or not, if they felt they were in danger, they ought to be able to            
 have a way of protecting themselves.  Her intent was that people              
 who feel that they need to protect themselves ought to have a way             
 of doing it.  However, her biggest concerns about the whole thing             
 are that it is too expensive and it does take a lot of time.  Those           
 people who really want to take advantage of the concealed carry are           
 people who work and don't have all that time and their paycheck               
 isn't big enough to cover all of these things.  The most vulnerable           
 people are the senior citizens, disabled and young working mothers,           
 and those are the areas where the cost factor has not been                    
 addressed.  She added that she is interested in hearing from people           
 any time on these issues and in making any changes that are                   
 necessary and proper.                                                         
                                                                               
 ADJOURNMENT                                                                   
                                                                               
 There being no further business to come before the joint committee,           
 CHAIR JAMES adjourned the meeting at approximately 12:00 p.m.                 

Document Name Date/Time Subjects