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Democratic Leader: Gun lobby using 'scare tatics'

The Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid has accused the NRA and gun lobby of "shameful scare tactics", after an amendment which would have expanded background checks on people wanting to buy guns, failed to secure enough of the vote to be put into law.

Opponents of the measure say that said the proposals were an example of government overreach that would infringe on the constitutional right to bear arms.

We must strike a better balance between the right to defend ourselves and the right of every child in America to grow up safe from gun violence.

If tragedy strikes again if innocents are gunned down in a classroom or a theatre or a restaurant I could not live with myself as a father, as a husband, as a grandfather or as a friend knowing that I didn't do everything in my power to prevent.

– Harry Reid, Senate Democratic Leader

US Senate opens doors to debate on gun control

The US Senate has cleared the way for what are likely to be heated debates about gun-control legislation, avoiding a Republican-sponsored effort to block the talks.

Senators voted 68-31 to open debate on President Barack Obama's proposals to expand background checks for gun buyers, tighten restrictions on gun trafficking and increase funding for school security.

Tributes left to the victims of the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut Credit: REUTERS/Eric Thayer

The issue of gun-control exploded onto the political agenda in the wake of the Newtown massacre last December in which 20 children and six adults were shot dead at an elementary school.

The legislation still faces many hurdles and weeks of discussion in both the Senate and House of Representatives.

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