South Dakotans can now carry concealed pistols while riding their snowmobiles. And Arkansas and North Dakota residents are now free to bring their guns to church, as long as their pastors approve. A dozen other states also have eliminated some gun restrictions this year. Four states have gone in the opposite direction, tightening their gun laws in the wake of the mass shooting last December in Newtown, Conn. Stateline says the speedy passage of gun laws in the states reflects the fact that in many of them, one party dominates the political landscape.
Following the 2012 elections, a single party now controls both the governor's mansion and the legislature in 37 states—sometimes with a nearly unbeatable “supermajority.” The result has been a torrent of new laws related not only to guns but other issues ranging from abortion to taxes. The action in the states stands in stark contrast to the situation in Washington, where split party control has slowed gun-related legislation—and all other legislation—to a crawl.