The U.S. House of Representatives voted 272-154 in favor of H.R. 822, the National Right-to-Carry Reciprocity Act, on Thursday in Washington, D.C.
The bill, introduced by Representatives Cliff Stearns (R-Fla.) and Heath Shuler (D-N.C.), and backed by the National Rifle Association, allows any U.S. citizen with a valid concealed firearms permit to carry a concealed firearm in states that allow concealed carry, or states that do not prohibit concealed carry for lawful purposes.
"NRA has made the National Right to Carry Act a priority because it enhances the fundamental right to self-defense guaranteed to all law-abiding people," said Chris W. Cox, executive director of NRA's Institute for Legislative Action, in a press release issued by the NRA. "People are not immune from crime when they cross state lines. That is why it is vital for them to be able to defend themselves and their loved ones should the need arise."
The bill requires states to recognize each others' concealed carry permits, similar to how states recognize existing drivers' licenses or marriages. It does not affect existing state laws, nor does it create a federal licensing system or impose standards on permits.
The NRA reported that all measures "to weaken or damage the integrity" of the act were unsuccessful.
Only Illinois and the District of Columbia prohibit concealed carry. All other 49 states allow citizens to carry a concealed firearm in some form, the NRA reported.
For more on H.R. 822 and commentary, check out Handguns Magazine.