Senate begins formal gun legislation debate

By WEEK Reporter

Senate begins formal gun legislation debate

April 12, 2013 Updated Apr 12, 2013 at 11:42 AM CDT

WASHINGTON, DC -- The Senate has begun formal debate on new gun control legislation.

A handful of Republicans joined most Democrats in voting 68 to 31 to begin consideration of a gun law.

In doing so, they defeated an attempt by Senate opponents of new gun laws to prevent debate.

The Senate will now begin to consider a package that would expand background checks for gun sales. It would also strengthen school safety and mental health programs.

The new NBC News-Wall Street Journal poll shows 55 percent of Americans favor tougher laws covering the sale of firearms. That is down six percent from February.

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