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US Senate Democrats Prepare Legislation to Thwart Gun Violence

FILE - Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., referring to proposals to screen for those who should be prevented from owning guns, says that "the better the background record check system, the safer people are."

Senate Democrats are preparing legislation to combat gun violence following last week's deadly shooting at an Oregon community college.

At a news conference Thursday, Democratic leaders called for an end to loopholes that allow buyers to get guns on the Internet and at gun shows without background checks.

"The victims and their families deserve better than a Congress that shrugs its shoulders and waits for the next tragedy," said Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut. "They deserve action."

The proposal also calls for substantial improvements to the current background check system to better screen for those who are prevented from owning guns, and it pushes for bans of gun sales to those convicted of domestic abuse.

"The better the background record check system, the safer people are," said Democratic Senator Tim Kaine of Virginia. "This should be so easy. The American public overwhelmingly supports background record checks. Gun owners, like me, overwhelmingly support background record checks."

Democrats are also seeking to end "straw purchases" — the practice of one person buying guns for another to evade legal restrictions. They also want better enforcement of laws against gun trafficking.

"We've chosen principles that are effective, that will save thousands of lives, but at the same time they do not impinge on the right of legitimate gun owners," said Senator Chuck Schumer, a New York Democrat.

Last week's shooting at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon, left 10 people dead. Authorities said the shooter, Christopher Harper-Mercer, killed himself after he was wounded by police.