On Wednesday, the House of Representatives passed a controversial bill which allows holders of concealed-carry permits to tote their concealed weapons across state lines.
The bill, touted by the National Rifle Association as its "highest legislative priority," easily passed with a vote of 231 to 198.
Chris W. Cox, executive director of the NRA Institute for Legislative Action, called the bill "a watershed moment for Second Amendment rights," adding that it's the “culmination of a 30-year movement recognizing the right of all law-abiding Americans to defend themselves, and their loved ones, including when they cross state lines.”
“For the millions of law-abiding citizens who lawfully carry concealed to protect themselves, for conservatives who want to strengthen our Second Amendment rights, and for the overwhelming majority of Americans who support concealed carry reciprocity, Christmas came early," said the bill's sponsor, Rep. Richard Hudson (R-N.C.).
Democrats, however, have accused Republicans of "trickery" and "sabotage" in getting the bill passed--it was attached to legislation to improve the national background-check system for gun purchases, something that has support on both sides of the aisle.
The bill would treat concealed-carry permits similar to driver's licenses, allowing permit holders to legally carry concealed weapons in any state that allows them, regardless of state-specific permitting restrictions.
Gabrielle Giffords, a former Arizona congresswoman who left office in 2012 after being shot in the head during an assassination attempt, spoke out against the bill.
“Several years after being shot in the head, I’ve learned a lot — how to walk again, how to talk again, and how to start each day ready to change the world,” she said in a statement. “But today, I’m furious. I’m angry that with shootings on the rise, the response from politicians is to sell out to the gun lobby and weaken our public safety laws. . . . I’m angry that when this country is begging for courage from our leaders, they are responding with cowardice.”