WASHINGTON – The United States House of Representatives approved on Wednesday a bill to extend the right to bear arms, currently limited to state permits, across the country.
The project, a legislative priority for the powerful National Rifle Association (NRA), received 231 votes in favor, mostly Republicans and 198 against, mostly Democrats.
The bill seeks to ensure that weapons permits, which are state-owned, are valid across the whole country.
The initiative has raised misgivings among states that impose more restrictions on the carrying of weapons and that would see more permissive state permits valid within their limits.
Along with the initiative to eliminate internal borders, the lower house approved improvements for states to report criminal records and psychological histories to the FBI to include them in the database used to legally acquire weapons.
People listed in this database are not eligible to acquire weapons, but the recent shootout in a Texas church, whose perpetrator was able to buy weapons despite having a criminal record, has revealed shortcomings in the system.
To become a law, the bill now needs Senate approval which has a smaller Republican majority.
This is the first bill on the possession and carrying of arms that has been debated in Congress since the Las Vegas shooting which left 58 people dead and 546 injured, the worst in the history of the US.