WASHINGTON (AP) — The House has approved a Republican bill making it easier for gun owners to legally carry concealed weapons across state lines.
The House approved the bill Wednesday, 231-198. The bill is the first gun legislation in Congress since mass shootings in Nevada and Texas killed more than 80 people.
The bill is a top priority of the National Rifle Association, which calls it an important step to allow gun owners to travel freely between states without worrying about conflicting state laws or civil suits.
Opponents, mostly Democrats, say the bill could endanger public safety by overriding state laws that place strict limits on guns. Democratic Rep. Elizabeth Esty of Connecticut says Republicans are catering to gun industry lobbyists by combining a bill on background checks with one making it easier to carry concealed guns across state lines.
Esty called it “unspeakable” that Congress would expand gun owners’ rights after the recent shootings and other deadly attacks.
Esty, who represents Newtown, Connecticut, also called the GOP maneuver “an insult to the folks in Sandy Hook,” a Newtown village where 20 school children and six adults were killed in 2012.
Esty says the background check measure would help ensure mental health and criminal records are loaded into a federal database. She says “that will be a good thing to do.”
But she blasted Republicans for including the measure in a “horrible bill” that she said will overturn tough gun laws in states such as Connecticut and ensure that “the lowest common denominator would reign for the entire country.”
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