Legislature(2003 - 2004)
04/15/2003 09:05 AM STA
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
SB 152-CONCEALED HANDGUNS SENATOR RALPH SEEKINS, bill sponsor, paraphrased the sponsor statement. In 2002 SB 242 was introduced to simplify and clarify the procedures for recognizing concealed handgun permits for other states. As a result of a floor amendment offered late in the session, recognition was limited to those permits held by individuals who had not had a permit denied or revoked. Although the amendment appeared reasonable on the surface, it had unintended consequence. Texas, the second most populous state in the nation, refused reciprocity with the State of Alaska. The refusal is technically bureaucratic in nature, yet presents a barrier to reciprocity. SB 152 attempts to resolve this issue. The first section of the bill recognizes permit holders from other states as valid permit holders in Alaska. The second section of the legislation requires the Alaska Department of Public Safety to enter into reciprocity agreements with other states when it is necessary to benefit Alaska permit holders. The House amended the companion bill and he was in agreement. In section 2 (b) they inserted language "that have the legal authority to enter into such agreements" between "states" and "so". CHAIR GARY STEVENS noted the bill would move to Judiciary next and it could be amended at that time. SENATOR JOHN COWDERY asked how many states provide for concealed permits. SENATOR SEEKINS replied most states did and the NRA representative might have the exact number. SENATOR COWDERY asked how many Alaskans held concealed handgun permits. SENATOR SEEKINS deferred the question to Brian Judy. There were no further questions for Senator Seekins. BRIAN JUDY, NRA representative, spoke in support of SB 152 and the proposed amendment. The bill is a technical change and would have no substantive impact on Alaska. The intent is to open the recognition of Alaska permits by other states. In response to Senator Cowdery's questions, he said there are just over 17,600 Alaskan permit holders. Forty three states issue permits to law-abiding citizens and of those, there are 25 that currently recognize permits issued to law-abiding citizens from other states including Alaska. SENATOR FRED DYSON asked him to comment on the fact that there have been few cases in which someone with a conceal-carry permit used their weapon improperly and on the number of cases in which conceal-carry permit holders have stopped crimes in progress and/or aided public safety officers. MR. JUDY said they are finding that although the criterion for issuance differs from state to state, permit holders virtually never cause problems. Also, a number of studies have found that in states with conceal-carry permits crimes did stop. In Alaska, violent crime increased through the early 1990s. The Alaska conceal-permit law passed in 1995 and violent crime dropped dramatically in the years 1996-1998. SENATOR DYSON noted in some states the police have given instruction in firearm safety to domestic violence and rape victims and have seen a significant drop in those crimes. He asked if he remembered that research. MR. JUDY did recall that happening in a Florida community. In response to an increase in crime, the chief of police held a well-publicized series of firearm safety courses specifically for women and issued conceal-weapon permits on an emergency basis. The incidence of rape nearly disappeared immediately. There were no further questions. SENATOR COWDERY made a motion to move SB 152 and attached fiscal note from committee with unanimous consent. There being no objection, it was so ordered.