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Senate committee approves gun trafficking bill

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WASHINGTON (AP) — The Senate Judiciary Committee has approved stiff federal penalties for illegally trafficking guns.

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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.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.

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