Kansas may join at least 11 other states in allowing some civilians to carry guns inside the state Capitol, a move that not everyone accepts in states that allow the practice.
Most states allowing guns in capitol buildings restrict the practice to members of the state legislature. Texas allows anyone to bring a gun into its building.
Gun enthusiasts said guns carrying guns in state capitol buildings allows them to exercise their Second Amendment rights and adds a measure of security. Opponents said civilians carrying guns in government buildings makes them feel endangered.
"The law enforcement in the Capitol should be done by the state troopers and not by members of the Legislature," Texas state Rep. Garnet Coleman (D-Houston) told The Huffington Post. "I feel less safe. Even though someone has gone through training, sometimes it is better to move away from danger. Get the appropriate security there. The chance he will shoot an innocent person is high. It concerns me if someone wants to be a hero."
Eight states allow civilians to carry concealed handguns in their capitol buildings, according to Morgan Cullen, a program analyst at the National Conference of State Legislatures. Three states have told the conference they allow guns in capitols, but did not offer specifics. Cullen would not name the 11 states, saying the Conference of State Legislatures had been asked not to.
Texas' law allows anyone with a permit to carry a concealed pistol to bypass metal detectors to enter the Capitol. Texas state Rep. Jonathan Stickland (R-Bedford) told The New York Times earlier this week that he routinely wears his gun to the Capitol. People in Texas are used to guns, he said.
Coleman said allowing those carrying guns to bypass metal detectors may lead to problems, even though concealed carry permits require background checks.
"Background checks mean that nothing has occurred in the past, it does not mean it could not happen," Coleman said.
Kansas state Rep. J.R. Claeys (R-Salina) told HuffPost earlier this week that he is not concerned about those with concealed carry permits bringing guns into his state Capitol, because they would have undergone a background check.
in 2003, New York City Councilman James Davis (D) was shot and killed by a political opponent in the City Council chamber prior to the meeting. Davis' assassin, Othniel Askew, who was killed by police, had purchased his weapon legally. He was able to bring it into City Hall under rules then in place that allowed council members and their guests to bypass metal detectors. Davis, a retired police officer, was also carrying a gun when he was shot.
The Kansas plan was adopted earlier this week by the state House when state Rep. John Wilson (D-Lawrence) noted that a bill to allow concealed carry of guns in other public buildings did not include the Capitol. Though he sponsored the amendment, Wilson said he does not favor guns in any public buildings.
Wilson's amendment, written by a legislative attorney, mistakenly would allow openly carrying guns in the Capitol instead of concealed carry. Lawmakers passed the bill before discovering the error. The flawed bill now advances to the state Senate for consideration.
While Wyoming allows guns in the Capitol, state Rep. Dan Zwonitzer (R-Cheyenne) said that under a "gentleman's agreement," all legislators check their guns with Capitol security. North Dakota does not allow guns in the Capitol, but also does not have metal detectors or police at building entrances. Missouri allows legislators to carry guns into the Capitol.
Arizona has allowed legislators to carry guns in the Capitol. In 2011, then-state Sen. Lori Klein (R-Anthem) gained attention for pointing her gun at a reporter during an interview to showcase the weapon's laser pointer.
Arizona state House Minority Leader Chad Campbell (D-Phoenix) told HuffPost that he has problems with guns in the Capitol.
"I'm a gun owner and I have no problem with gun ownership," Campbell said. "But I don't think that there is a need to carry them to the floor."
1981: The Attempted Assassination Of President Ronald Reagan
on March 30, 1981, President Reagan and three others were shot and wounded in an assassination attempt by John Hinckley, Jr. outside the Washington Hilton Hotel in Washington, D.C. Reagan's press secretary, Jim Brady, was shot in the head.
1993: The Brady Handgun Violence Act
The Brady Handgun Violence Act of 1993, signed into law by President Bill Clinton, mandated that federally licensed dealers complete comprehensive background checks on individuals before selling them a gun. The legislation was named for James Brady, who was shot during an attempted assassination of President Ronald Reagan in 1981.
1994: The Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act
The Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act, signed into law by President Bill Clinton in 1994, instituted a ban on 19 kinds of assault weapons, including Uzis and AK-47s. The crime bill also banned the possession of magazines holding more than ten rounds of ammunition. (An exemption was made for weapons and magazines manufactured prior to the ban.)
2004: Law Banning Magazines Holding More Than Ten Rounds Of Ammunition Expires
In 2004, ten years after it first became law, Congress allowed a provision banning possession of magazines holding more than ten rounds of ammunition to expire through a sunset provision. Brady Campaign President Paul Helmke told HuffPost that the expiration of this provision meant that Rep. Gabby Giffords's alleged shooter was able to fire off 20-plus shots without reloading (under the former law he would have had only ten).
2007: The U.S. Court of Appeals For The District Of Columbia Rules In Favor Of Dick Heller
In 2007 The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ruled to allow Dick Heller, a licensed District police officer, to keep a handgun in his home in Washington, D.C. Following that ruling, the defendants petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court to hear the case.
2008: The NICS Improvement Amendments Act
Following the deadly shooting at Virginia Tech University, Congress passed legislation to require states provide data on mentally unsound individuals to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, with the aim of halting gun purchases by the mentally ill, and others prohibited from possessing firearms. The bill was signed into law by President George W. Bush in January of 2008.
2008: Supreme Court Strikes Down D.C. Handgun Ban As Unconstitutional
In June of 2008, the United States Supreme Court upheld the verdict of a lower court ruling the D.C. handgun ban unconstitutional in the landmark case <em>District of Columbia v. Heller</em>.
Gabrielle Giffords And Trayvon Martin Shootings
Gun control advocates had high hopes that reform efforts would have increased momentum in the wake of two tragic events that rocked the nation. In January of 2011, Jared Loughner opened fire at an event held by Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.), killing six and injuring 13, including the congresswoman. Resulting attempts to push gun control legislation <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/09/trayvon-martin-shooting-gun-debate_n_1413115.html" target="_hplink">proved fruitless</a>, with neither proposal even succeeding in gaining a single GOP co-sponsor. More than a year after that shooting, Florida teenager Trayvon Martin was <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/news/trayvon-martin" target="_hplink">gunned down</a> by George Zimmerman in an event that some believed would bring increased scrutiny on the nation's Stand Your Ground laws. While there has been increasing discussion over the nature of those statutes, lawmakers were <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/09/trayvon-martin-shooting-gun-debate_n_1413115.html" target="_hplink">quick to concede</a> that they had little faith the event would effectively spur gun control legislation, thanks largely to the National Rifle Association's vast lobbying power. Read more <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/09/trayvon-martin-shooting-gun-debate_n_1413115.html" target="_hplink">here</a>:
Colorado Movie Theater Shooting
In July of 2012, a heavily armed gunman <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/20/aurora-shooting-movie-theater-batman_n_1688547.html" target="_hplink">opened fire on theatergoers</a> attending a midnight premiere of the final film of the latest Batman trilogy, killing 12 and wounding scores more. The suspect, James Eagan Holmes, allegedly carried out the act with a number of handguns, as well as an AR-15 assault rifle with a 100-round drum magazine. Some lawmakers used the incident, which took place in a state with some of the laxest gun control laws, to bring forth legislation designed to place increased regulations on access to such weapons, but many observers, citing previous experience, were <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/20/batman-shooting_n_1690547.html" target="_hplink">hesitant to say</a> that they would be able to overcome the power of the National Rifle Association and Washington gun lobby.
Sikh Temple Shooting
On August 5, 2012, white supremacist Wade Michael Page opened fire on a Sikhs gathered at a temple in Oak Creek, Wis., killing six and wounding four more before turning the gun on himself.