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WASHINGTON (AP) -- Off-duty and retired police officers would have the right to carry concealed weapons in any state under legislation the Senate approved by voice vote Wednesday and sent to the president.

The bill, passed by the House last month, would override some states' prohibitions on carrying concealed firearms. Many states do not recognize other states' concealed weapons permits.

``This legislation will allow thousands of equipped, trained and certified officers to continually serve and protect our communities regardless of jurisdiction and at no cost to taxpayers,'' the House's chief sponsor, Rep. Randy ``Duke'' Cunningham, R-Calif., said when the House approved it by voice vote June 23.

The White House endorsed the measure in a statement, saying, ``This legislation will better protect the nation from danger by ensuring that officers are ready to handle an emergency regardless of their location and duty status and will help them to better protect themselves and their families from vindictive criminals.''

Critics said the bill could create problems such as liability for out-of-state or retired officer's actions.
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