WASHINGTON, June 23 /U.S. Newswire/ --

The House of Representatives today overwhelmingly passed H.R. 218, legislation that would allow qualified off-duty and retired law enforcement officers to carry their firearms concealed in all 50 states.

Originally drafted by Rep. Randy \"Duke\" Cunningham and Law Enforcement Alliance of America (LEAA) Executive Director Jim Fotis in 1992, the \'National Concealed Carry for Cops'legislation has been a 12-year fight that has been embraced by nearly every association representing rank and file police officers and a significant bipartisan majority in the House and Senate.

At a press conference marking passage of the life-saving legislation in the House, Fotis remarked, \"After more than a decade of fighting, a major victory has been won for America\'s men and women in blue. For 12 years the Law Enforcement Alliance of America has backed Congressman Cunningham in his efforts and helped lead the fight to pass H.R 218. In that time Duke has proven himself, time and time again, to be a good friend and the greatest ally a good cause -- and cops -- could ever have. We owe a debt of gratitude to Law Enforcement\'s \'Top Gun'on Capitol Hill. Thank you Congressman Cunningham.\"

LEAA\'s Fotis and Rep. Cunningham were joined by Rep. Ric Keller (R-Fla.) and Rep. Tom Feeney (R-Fla.) as well as law enforcement leaders Bill Johnson from the National Association of Police Organizations (NAPO), Don Baldwin from the National Law Enforcement Council (NLEC), Brad Card from the National Troopers Coalition (NTC) and other law enforcement leaders as well as officers from area departments.

H.R. 218 now awaits a vote by the Senate. President Bush has indicated his strong support and his willingness to promptly sign \'National Concealed Carry for Cops'into law.

For more information about H.R. 218 or S. 253 please go to: http://leaa.org/218/