Legislature(2003 - 2004)

04/15/2003 09:05 AM STA

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= 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.                                                                                                   

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