The most significant US Senate debate on gun laws in 20 years starts Tuesday with the chamber introducing a bipartisan compromise on background checks, as both sides expect a razor-thin vote this week.
Handguns on display at a gun show in Chantilly, Virginia in November 21, 2009. A bill to be proposed in the US Senate would expand background checks on all commercial firearm sales, including those at gun shows and on the Internet. It would also stiffen penalties for gun trafficking and boost school safety measures.
The measure's two primary authors, Democrat Joe Manchin and Republican Pat Toomey, spent much of Monday scouring the 100-member chamber for last-minute support for the deal, which got a surprise boost when the second-largest US gun rights group came out in favor of it.
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