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Senators get tough on straw purchases

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By USA Today
Thursday, March 7, 2013, 8:48 p.m.

WASHINGTON — The first gun-related legislation passed out of a key Senate committee on Thursday, setting up the first potential floor votes on the issue of gun violence in nearly a decade.

The Senate Judiciary Committee voted 11-7 to approve the bill, which would crack down on straw purchasers of weapons by making the practice a federal crime.

One Republican, Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, joined the panel's 10 Democrats in voting for the bill.

In his comments before the vote, Grassley said bill wasn't perfect, but “good faith” negotiations between himself, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., and Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., made him inclined to support the bill out of committee.

“Some on my side believe the bill needs more work to resolve outstanding issues between now and when the bill goes to the floor,” he said. “That is something that I hope will happen with the chairman's help.”

President Obama called the approval “real progress” and urged passage by the full Senate and the House. “We need to stop the flow of illegal guns to criminals,” he said.

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