Senate Panel OKs Ban on 'Straw Purchases,' Three Other Gun-Control Proposals Stall

Last week the Senate Judiciary Committee approved a bipartisan bill to expand sanctions on illegal "straw purchases" of guns, the first major gun-related bill adopted by the panel since 1994.

But votes on three more controversial proposals -- Sen. Dianne Feinstein's semi-automatic firearms ban, high-capacity ammunition magazine restrictions and expanded universal background checks -- will likely be delayed until later this week.

The committee is expected to approve all four measures and refer them to the full Senate before the two-week Easter recess. However, the panel adjourned before midday Thursday, citing the need for some members to attend a classified briefing on an unspecified matter. Aides later said the committee might not reconvene until next week.

Three of the four proposals -- Feinstein's semi-automatic firearms ban, high-cap magazine restrictions, universal background checks -- have drawn strong opposition from GOP senators and some Democrats.

The proposed gun trafficking bill endorsed by the committee Thursday in an 11-7 vote would create penalties of up to 25 years in prison for people who legally buy guns in "straw purchases" to give them to others to use in crimes.