Controversial gun bills: 4 states that are fueling debate

North Dakota wants to legalize guns in your office parking lot, while South Carolina is contemplating letting weapons into places of worship

South Carolina may legalize carrying weapons into restaurants and houses of worship, following on the heels of Louisiana, which passed a guns-in-churches law last year.
(Image credit: Corbis)

North Dakotans might soon have the right to bring their guns to work, as long as they keep their firearms locked inside a car. How does this compare to other states with proposals for loose gun laws? Here, four states — and the places their lawmakers want you to feel free to pack heat:

1. North Dakota: The office parking lot

Under the state's new gun bill, overwhelmingly approved Wednesday by the state Senate, businesses could still bar guns from the actual workplace, but couldn't prohibit employees from bringing guns onto company property — the parking lot, for instance. "This bill respects the ability for the right of property owners to say, 'No guns on premises,'" says National Rifle Association lobbyist Darin Goens, as quoted by Forbes, "but the parking lot is a different deal. What private property interests do they have in micromanaging the contents of my trunk?"

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2. Texas: College campuses

Lawmakers in Texas are debating a proposal to allow students to carry concealed weapons on college campuses. The bill is working its way through state House and Senate committees this week. Supporters, including Gov. Rick Perry (R) and more than half the House, say letting students carry guns would help them defend themselves in deadly school shootings like the 2007 rampage at Virginia Tech. But John Woods, a University of Texas doctoral student who lost his girlfriend in the Virginia Tech shootings, said the bill will only make universities more dangerous. "It's completely ideological," says Woods, as quoted in The Texas Tribune. "It's not about campus safety at all."

3. South Carolina: Church

South Carolina is debating a bill that would allow gun owners to carry their weapons into restaurants, day-care centers, and even churches. Unsurprisingly, the idea is going over well; last fall, 89 percent of the state's voters cast ballots to make hunting a constitutional right. In fact, opponents to the new bill say it doesn't go far enough, because amendments would limit the places young adults could carry their guns. Guns-in-churches proposals are not new. Last year, Gov. Bobby Jindal (R-La.) signed a similar law — making Louisiana the seventh state in the country with such a law.

4. Arizona: NFL games

Arizona's legislature is looking at a proposal to make it legal to bring guns into any public building or public event — except places where extraordinary measures are taken to make sure nobody can carry a gun. Not impressed: The Arizona Cardinals' management, which worries that the bill would require them to let fans bring guns on game day.

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