The House has approved a Republican bill that would make 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 of Representatives approved the bill Wednesday, 231-198.

The bill is a top priority of the National Rifle Association (NRA), 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.

The House vote comes as the Senate Judiciary Committee holds a hearing on reporting criminal history information to the FBI.

The bill was expected to pass the House, but its fate in the Senate is uncertain.