Carrying a gun on New Hampshire’s state House floor now is OK, thanks to rules passed this month by the Republican-dominated chamber.
The rules also allow visitors to the House gallery to carry firearms, but prohibits their display.
“This is an open-carry state and while, for matters of decorum, I do support only concealed weapons in the chamber, anteroom and gallery, it is important that students understand this is part of our proud tradition,” said Shawn Jasper, a Republican House member.
Public opinion on the issue of gun control and gun rights has changed little in the wake of the Tucson shooting, polls show.
A Pew Research survey taken days after the shooting showed that 49 percent of Americans said it was more important to protect the right of Americans to own guns, while 46 percent said it was more important to control gun ownership.
In September, a similar Pew survey showed that 50 percent of survey respondents prioritized gun control, while 46 percent said gun rights were more important.
Gun rights aren’t the only social issue that Republicans are eager to tackle at the state level. Republicans who swept control of state governments across the country in November proclaimed jobs were their top priority, but pressure has been building to achieve the party’s social goals.
Republican state lawmakers in early January kicked off a campaign to end the automatic granting of U.S. citizenship to children born in the United States of illegal immigrants, as allowed under the Constitution’s 14th Amendment.
The lawmakers — from Arizona, Georgia, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania and South Carolina — said they wanted to force a Supreme Court review of the 14th Amendment or force Congress to take action with legislation they’ve drafted targeting automatic citizenship.
“We want to have our day in court,” said Arizona state Rep. John Kavanagh. “All we’re asking for is for these bills to prompt the Supreme Court to re-evaluate what we believe is an erroneous interpretation of the 14th Amendment.”
The state lawmakers said they didn’t know how many states would be willing to adopt their proposals, although Pennsylvania state Rep. Daryl Metcalfe predicted at least 18 to 20.
In Florida, legislators are considering a comprehensive Arizona-style immigration measure. Gov. Rick Scott, a Republican who just took office, made it one of the biggest social issues of his 2010 campaign.
One proposal would allow police, during a lawful detention or arrest, to ask for immigration documents if the officer suspects the detainee may be in the country illegally.
Wisconsin lawmakers kicked off their first day of Republican control of state government this month by circulating bills on voter registration, all-terrain vehicles, stem-cell research and self-defense.
Attempts by Kansas lawmakers in past years to restrict late-term abortions were thwarted by Democratic governors. But with Gov. Sam Brownback — a former U.S. senator in the Republican Party and a longtime opponent of abortion rights — the GOP-controlled state Legislature may succeed this year in placing limits on abortion rights.