GOP-led House passes concealed carry gun bill
The House has approved a Republican bill making it easier for gun owners to legally carry concealed weapons across state lines. The bill is the first gun legislation in Congress since mass shootings in Nevada and Texas killed more than 80 people.
The House approved the bill Wednesday, 231-198.
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 called it "unspeakable" that Congress would expand gun owners' rights after the recent shootings and other deadly attacks.
Former Rep. Gabby Giffords launched ads earlier in the week urging New Jersey Republican Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen to vote against the bill. Frelinghuysen is chairman of the Appropriations Committee.
Several domestic violence groups rallied in Morristown Wednesday. Morristown is part of Frelinghuysen’s district. The groups said that domestic violence protection is linked directly to gun control.
"HR-38 pierces those protections and prevents our state from continuing to move forward and strengthening our response, particularly in the most dangerous cases,” said Nicole Morella with the New Jersey Coalition to End Domestic Violence.
New Jersey recently passed legislation that allows immediate seizure of firearms from a domestic violence offender.
"I am not against having the right to own a gun,” says Morristown Mayor Timothy Dougherty. “But I surely am against the right to someone who has no background check, has no firearms training, is 21 years old and can walk into our state with a concealed weapon, and it's legal."
Supporters of the bill say that they want it to better protect themselves and their families.
The Associated Press wire services contributed to this report.