Senate Gun Control Bill Passes First Hurdle

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by FOX News

WASHINGTON, D.C. (FOX News)--Controversial gun legislation cleared a key Senate hurdle Thursday, as lawmakers voted 68-31 to start debate on the package which includes expanded background checks and new penalties for gun trafficking.

Senate Democrats, joined by a few Republicans, were able to overcome an attempted filibuster by more than a dozen senators opposed to the current bill. Those senators could still slow-walk the debate, but the Senate will ultimately begin votes on amendments -- one of which is considered crucial to winning support for a final vote.

The amendment likely to be at the front of the line is one from Sens. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and Pat Toomey, R-Pa., which would scale back the call for universal background checks. The plan would expand checks to gun-show and Internet sales, but exempt certain personal transactions.

The National Rifle Association and other gun-rights supporters voiced concern about the new proposal, saying it still goes too far. But the plan, offered by two lawmakers who are at the conservative end of their respective parties, could help ease opposition ahead of a final vote.

The legislation required at least 60 votes to advance Thursday.

If the bill passes the Senate, it would still have to pass the Republican-dominated House.

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