On Wednesday, members of the House of Representatives passed the first piece of major gun legislation since two back-to-back mass shootings in Las Vegas and Sutherland Springs, Texas.
The controversial Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act requires all states to recognize concealed carry permits issued in other states, meaning a concealed carry permit holder can carry a hidden weapon across state lines.
The House voted 231-186 for the bill. Six democrats vote for the measure while 14 Republicans voted against.
House Republican leaders lauded the passage of the bill.
"Constitutional rights don't end at state lines. The right to bear arms should transcend state lines, just as the right to free speech does," wrote Texas Congressman Mike Conaway in a statement after the bill's passage.
Supporters , including the National Rifle Association, argued the concealed carry legislation would strengthen Second Amendment rights for law-abiding citizens.
But opponents of the bill including House Democrats, gun safety proponents and several police departments argued that the legislation weakens existing state laws that require concealed carry permit holders to go through firearms and safety training.
If the bill becomes law, critics worry that an individual who is unable to get a permit in a state with stricter safety laws in place could simply get a permit in another state with more lax laws.
House Republicans tied the concealed carry legislation to another bipartisan gun bill, the Fix NICS Act.
That legislation seeks to strengthen the federal background check system by punishing agencies that fail to report records on domestic violence to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS).
That legislation was drafted in response to the church shooting in Texas after it was discovered that the gunman had been convicted on domestic violence charges while he was in the Air Force. That charge should have prevented him from purchasing a gun but the Air Force never reported the crime.
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