Senators Pushing for Vote on New Gun Laws

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Sen. Richard Blumenthal is fronting a push for a sweeping package of new gun control laws in the Senate.Tom Williams

Senate Democrats are expected to begin a strong push today for a large package of new gun control legislation, which comes with a threat to block other measures until it is brought the the floor, according to this story from Time.

The bill package includes a version of an earlier bill that failed in April 2013 to expand background checks. It now also includes checks for online gun purchases and for private sales at gun shows, according to the New York Times.

The legislation package will also include a bill announced last week by Connecticut's senators, Richard Blumenthal and Christopher S. Murphy, which would bar gun sales until background checks are completed. Currently, if a NICS background check does not return a result within 72 hours, a gun dealer is permitted to allow the customer to buy the firearm, the story says.

The Senate Democrats have said they will block other measures until this new gun control package gets a vote, but it is still unlikely the legislation would pass in the Republican-controlled House, the Time story says. Blumenthal's bill would require a completed background check of all gun purchases, but the NYT story says senators were discussing a compromise that would still impose some deadline on the FBI to complete the checks.

Yet another component of the package, sponsored by Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, would expand prohibitions on gun purchases to include abusive dating partners, individuals under a court-imposed restraining order, and convicted stalkers.

There are also measures sponsored by Sen. Patrick J. Leahy of Vermont that would crack down on gun trafficking and straw purchases, in which an individual permitted to buy firearms do so for someone who is prohibited from buying them.