Senate Panel OK's Bill Targeting Gun Straw Purchases

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A Senate panel has approved the first new federal gun legislation since December's deadly Sandy Hook Elementary school shooting in Newtown, Conn.

The Senate Judiciary Committee voted 11 to 7 Tuesday to toughen laws against "straw purchases." That's when one legally purchases a gun for people, like criminals, who are barred from doing so.

The panel also debated bills banning assault weapons and high capacity magazines.

"The plain, simple, blunt fact is that some if not all of the beautiful children who perished that day in Newtown, along with the great educators who gave their lives trying to save those children, might well be alive today if this ban had been in effect," said Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn.

Sen. John Cornyn of Texas, the No. 2 Senate Republican, disagreed.

"Are we really going to pass another law that will have zero effect, then pat ourselves on the back for doing something wonderful?" he said.

The group recessed before voting on any more of the proposed legislation.

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