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Gun control measures pass


With Vice President Al Gore casting a tie-breaking vote May 20, the U.S. Senate passed a Democratic proposal to require background checks of people who purchase weapons at gun shows. The Senate had rejected the bill only a week earlier.

The bill’s passage came just hours after a school shooting in Conyers, Ga., injured six students, and one month after 15 deaths in a Colorado high school.

Six Republicans voted for the amendment proposed by Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-New Jersey. The same six had backed a slightly different version of the bill the previous week.

In the earlier vote, two Democrats voted against the measure and two were absent. Three of those Democrats backed the bill in the second vote, resulting in a 50-50 tie. Gore cast the 51st vote.

The same day, the Senate overwhelmingly approved a Republican proposal to eliminate loopholes in regulations requiring background checks for weapons purchases.

National Catholic Reporter, May 28, 1999