Republicans rammed a bill through the House on Wednesday that would make it easier for gun owners to legally carry concealed weapons across state lines, the first significant action on guns in Congress since mass shootings in Nevada and Texas killed more than 80 people.
The House approved the bill, 231-198, largely along party lines. Six Democrats voted yes, while 14 Republicans voted no.
The measure would allow gun owners with a state-issued concealed-carry permit to carry a handgun in any state that allows concealed weapons. It now goes to the Senate.
Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo expressed discontent on his Twitter account about the right to carry concealed weapons across state lines.
The degradation of State rights & erosion of state LTC laws/processes isn’t supported by most responsible gun-owners in Texas and beyond. Can’t believe some who claim to champion States’ Rights voted for this. We need national LTC standard similar to TX. https://t.co/ipliLoOxhX
— Chief Art Acevedo (@ArtAcevedo) December 7, 2017
Acevedo said to The Columbus Dispatch that Texas, despite being a strong gun rights state, has a “very thoughtful” concealed carry process that includes a background check and safety test. Other states don’t necessarily have such requirements, he said.
“We have a process in place that assures law enforcement that they’re dealing with someone who has gone through a background check, is not a criminal and has proven to be a responsible gun owner,” he said.
Acevedo said if the bill passes, “it will create, in essence, a nationwide law that would require all states to honor a permit from any state” regardless of the rules.
Sen. John Cornyn of Texas, the No. 2 Republican in the Senate, co-sponsored a bipartisan bill bolstering the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, or NICS.
While he supports the concealed-carry measure, “I think it’s a mistake to try to combine this with the ‘Fix NICS’ background check,” Cornyn told reporters.
The legislation also would order the Justice Department to study bump stocks, including how often they are used in a crime.