FILE - In this Feb. 13, 2013 file photo, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., right, talks with the committee's ranking Republican Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, on Capitol Hill in Washington. Tuesday March 12, 2013 meeting comes five days after the panel approved Congress’ first gun control measure since December’s carnage at a Newtown, Conn., elementary school that left 26 students and educators dead. That bill, by the Judiciary Committee’s chairman, Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., and others, establishes long prison terms for illegal gun traffickers and straw purchasers, people who buy a firearm for criminals or others forbidden to buy one. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)
WASHINGTON (AP) — A divided Senate Judiciary Committee has approved a Democratic bill expanding required federal background checks for nearly all gun purchases.
The panel approved the measure by 10-8, supported by all Democrats and opposed by every Republican. Expanded background checks is the heart of President Barack Obama's proposals to curb firearms.
The sponsor is New York Democratic Sen. Charles Schumer.
He says the measure will reduce gun crimes. He also said he hopes he can strike a compromise on the measure with Republicans, which will enhance its chances of passing in the full Senate.
Iowa Sen. Charles Grassley is the top Republican on the panel. He says he believes the measure will ultimately lead to a federal registry of gun owners — which is illegal. Schumer said wouldn't happen.