The US House of Representatives passed a bill that makes it easier for gun owners to carry concealed weapons across state lines.

Known as “concealed carry reciprocity,” the bill would allow gun owners with a state-issued concealed-carry permit to carry a handgun in any state that allows concealed weapons. In other words, each state must reciprocate the approval of a permit that any other state has issued.

According to Fox News, "Reciprocity does not affect any specific state’s laws about carrying a concealed weapon. Some states have relatively restrictive permitting procedures. New York state, for example, has one of the most rigorous standards for anyone seeking a concealed-carry gun permit. The process, if successful -- and success is far from guaranteed – entails completing a large amount of paperwork, months of waiting and detailed inquiries into applicants’ history and personal lives. The bill that just passed does not require New York to change or stop enforcing its existing laws. The state can continue to enforce relatively restrictive standards for anyone seeking, within the state of New York, a concealed-carry gun permit."

The bill would not force states to change their own laws, but it would treat a concealed-carry permit like a driver’s license, said the New York Times, letting individuals allowed by one state to carry a concealed weapon with them into another state. It would also allow visitors to national parks, wildlife refuges and other federally administered lands to legally carry concealed guns. And it carves out a provision that would let qualified permit holders carry concealed guns in school zones, the Times reported.

There are at least seven states whose laws about concealed carry are relatively strict, said Fox News. Besides New York, those states are Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New Jersey, Delaware and Maryland. The remaining 43 states generally take a somewhat less restrictive approach to applications for a concealed-carry gun permit."

Chris W. Cox, the N.R.A.’s executive director, praised the vote as 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.

Democrats said the measure would jeopardize public safety and set a dangerous precedent for overriding states’ rights to determine their own laws. “The answer to our national problem of gun violence is not that we need more people carrying concealed firearms on our streets,” said Representative Jerrold Nadler of New York, the top Democrat on the Judiciary Committee.

The bill now goes to the Senate.