Iowa is set to become the latest state to allow gun owners to keep firearms at their side while visiting the state Capitol, a move that has raised questions about how security workers would deal with armed visitors, reports the Associated Press. When Republican Gov. Terry Branstad signs the measure Thursday as part of a wide-ranging gun bill, it will mirror similar activity at statehouses around the U.S. in recent years. Under the provision approved by the GOP-controlled Legislature, any U.S. resident with a valid weapons permit could bring a concealed handgun into the Iowa Capitol. About 275,000 people in Iowa have such a permit.
At least 17 states allow guns in their Capitols, according to data compiled by the National Rifle Association’s lobbying arm, the Institute for Legislative Action. Among states that allow guns in their Capitols, Kansas, New Mexico and Utah have no restrictions, while Florida, New Hampshire, Oregon and Wisconsin allow only concealed permit holders to be armed. Missouri and Arkansas enacted Capitol gun provisions this year. “Iowa state lawmakers know it is hypocritical of them to allow carry elsewhere but to ban it in the Capitol building,” said an NRA spokeswoman. “In the halls where freedom is celebrated, freedoms should be exercised.”