House Republicans passed a measure Wednesday expanding the right to carry concealed firearms to virtually the entire United States. The legislation will now move to the Senate, where Republicans will likely need 60 votes to avoid a filibuster by Democrats.
NRA executive director Christ Cox called the vote a "watershed moment" for Second Amendment rights:
“This bill ensures that all law-abiding citizens in our great country can protect themselves in the manner they see fit without accidentally running afoul of the law,” he said.
Concealed carry laws are currently determined by states and cover the spectrum when it comes to strictness of requirements.
Some states, including New York and Maryland, as well as the District of Columbia require that permit applicants have live-fire experience and safety training, along with a clean criminal history. Others are more lenient, and a dozen states do not even require a permit.
Senate Republicans would need at least eight Democrats to join in order to pass the bill, which at present could be insurmountable.
[W]hile several Democrats backed a similar measure when it was last voted on in 2013, the politics surrounding guns have shifted since then amid a spate of deadly mass shootings. The result has been a virtual deadlock as Democrats and Republicans cannot agree on how, if at all, to address gun violence.
Several Democrats who voted for the 2013 measure, including Senators Martin Heinrich of New Mexico, Mark Warner of Virginia and Tom Udall of New Mexico, said this week they would not do so this time around. Even Democrats perceived to be the most in favor of gun rights, including Senators Joe Manchin III of West Virginia and Jon Tester of Montana, were cautious about staking out a position before they needed to.