"The Second Amendment is a fundamental right to bear arms, and should not be constrained by state boundary lines," House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) said on the floor. "Opposition to this legislation comes from those who believe concealed carry permit holders often commit violent crimes, which is demonstrably false, or from those who want to restrict the right of law-abiding citizens to bear arms."

But Democrats reiterated their arguments that states are currently free to set reciprocity agreements with other states if they wish to recognize each others' permits. Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) said requiring all states to accept other state permits would infringe on states' rights, and could lead to reduced permitting standards.

"Because any permit would suffice, this bill would create a race to the bottom, with whatever state has the most permissive concealed carry rules setting national policy," Nadler said.

Republicans have said nothing in the bill would weaken standards related to the right to carry arms.

Nadler also reiterated another Democratic argument — that Republicans are wasting time on gun legislation when they should be focused on jobs.

"The disconnect between the Republican House majority and the American people is beyond belief," he said. "It is no wonder the Congress approval rating is 13 percent according to the latest Gallup poll."

Debate on the bill was set to conclude before 3 p.m., after which 10 amendments will be considered and voted on.