Senate committee approves gun trafficking bill
by Alan Fram, Associated Press
March 07, 2013 11:25 AM | 430 views | 0 0 comments | 3 3 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, middle, gets a kiss from Emily Nottingham, right, mother of slain former Giffords staffer Gabe Zimmerman, as they and Giffords husband Mark Kelly, left, and other surviving shooting victims and family members of the slain returned to the site of a shooting that left her critically wounded to urge key senators to support expanded background checks for gun purchases, Wednesday, March 6, 2013, in Tucson, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
Former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, middle, gets a kiss from Emily Nottingham, right, mother of slain former Giffords staffer Gabe Zimmerman, as they and Giffords husband Mark Kelly, left, and other surviving shooting victims and family members of the slain returned to the site of a shooting that left her critically wounded to urge key senators to support expanded background checks for gun purchases, Wednesday, March 6, 2013, in Tucson, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
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Former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, left, listens to her husband Mark Kelly, right speak as they returned to the site of a shooting that left her critically wounded to urge key senators to support expanded background checks for gun purchases, Wednesday, March 6, 2013, in Tucson, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
Former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, left, listens to her husband Mark Kelly, right speak as they returned to the site of a shooting that left her critically wounded to urge key senators to support expanded background checks for gun purchases, Wednesday, March 6, 2013, in Tucson, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
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WASHINGTON (AP) — The Senate Judiciary Committee has approved stiff federal penalties for illegally trafficking guns.

It’s the first vote in Congress to curb firearms since December’s horrific shootings at a Connecticut elementary school.

The bill is sponsored by committee Chairman Patrick Leahy of Vermont. It would create penalties of up to 25 years in prison for people who buy guns for others who use them in a crime.

The vote was 11 to 7, with Sen. Charles Grassley of Iowa the only Republican to support it.

The panel is also debating bills requiring federal background checks for nearly all gun purchases; banning assault weapons and high capacity ammunition magazines; and boosting federal aid for school safety programs.

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