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US Senate to Debate Gun Control

Democratic Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia is followed by reporters after a meeting on gun control, on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., April 9, 2013.Democratic Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia is followed by reporters after a meeting on gun control, on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., April 9, 2013.
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Democratic Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia is followed by reporters after a meeting on gun control, on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., April 9, 2013.
Democratic Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia is followed by reporters after a meeting on gun control, on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., April 9, 2013.
VOA News
The U.S. Senate begins debate Thursday on one of the most controversial and emotional bills it is likely to take up this year -- gun control.

The Democratic-led Senate is likely to defeat efforts by some conservative Republicans to block the bill from consideration.

A compromise between two pro-gun senators, one Democrat and one Republican,  on expanding background checks for gun buyers opened the door for the debate to begin. Their compromise would require checks at gun shows and on the Internet, but would exclude sales between friends and family members.

The gun control bill also would ban military-style assault weapons and limit the number of bullets a magazine can carry. This has a much slimmer chance of getting passed.

The December massacre of 26 children and teachers at a Newtown, Connecticut elementary school put gun control in the national spotlight.

Several states, including Connecticut, Colorado and Maryland, have enacted their own gun control laws. President Barack Obama has demanded federal action. But the powerful gun owners group, the National Rifle Association, opposes any new measures as an infringement on the constitutional right to own weapons.

Related video report by Michael Bowman
Push for US Gun Reform Gets a Boosti
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April 11, 2013 2:22 AM
The push to reform U.S. gun laws got a boost, Wednesday, after key U.S. senators unveiled a bipartisan proposal to subject gun purchasers to more-rigorous scrutiny. As VOA Senate correspondent Michael Bowman reports, gun reform appears to be gaining political momentum in Washington -- four months after a mass shooting at a Connecticut elementary school.
Thursday's Senate debate will be the first of what is expected to be multiple debates on gun control, which also must pass the Republican-controlled House of Representatives.

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