WASHINGTON (AP) - Gun control supporters have won the first Senate showdown over restricting firearms, rejecting an effort by conservatives to derail a package of gun curbs before debate could even begin.
The 68-31 vote gave an initial burst of momentum to efforts by President Barack Obama and lawmakers, mostly Democrats, to impose gun restrictions following the December carnage at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn.
Gun control supporters needed 60 votes to block the conservatives.
The legislation would subject more firearms buyers to federal background checks, strengthen laws against illicit gun trafficking and increase school safety aid. Advocates say the measures would make it harder for criminals and the mentally ill to get weapons.
Opponents say the restrictions would violate the Constitution's right to bear arms and would be ignored by criminals.
South Korean officials are playing down security fears on the peninsula amid what seem to be daily threats from the North and a warning that a nuclear war was imminent.
A Defense Ministry official in Seoul says South Korea has deployed three naval destroyers, an early warning surveillance aircraft and a land-based radar system.
But many North Koreans are focused today on the first anniversary of their leader's appointment as head of the ruling Worker's Party.
Still, at the border: North Korea remains tense as more South Korean workers return.
WASHINGTON (AP) - A Senate aide and a lobbyist say two senators have struck a bipartisan deal on expanding background checks to more firearms purchases. The agreement could build support for President Barack Obama's drive to curb gun violence.
Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Republican Sen. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania planned to announce their pact Wednesday.
Gun control advocates consider background checks the most effective of the proposals Congress is considering for reducing gun violence.
The deal would expand the checks to cover all commercial sales, such as at gun shows and online. Private transactions that are not for profit, such as those between relatives, would be exempt.
Currently, the system only covers sales through licensed gun dealers.
The aide and lobbyist spoke on condition of anonymity to describe private talks.