Senate panel passes ban on assault-style weapons

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WASHINGTON (CNN) — A ban on semiautomatic firearms modeled after military assault weapons won approval Thursday from a Senate committee, sending the legislation to the full Senate for consideration as part of a package of gun measures studied after the Connecticut school shootings last December that killed 20 first-graders.

The measure, sponsored by Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-California, passed on a party line vote by the Senate Judiciary Committee, with 10 Democrats supporting it and eight Republicans opposed.

However, fierce opposition by the influential National Rifle Association was expected to prevent the proposal from getting passed by the Senate.

The panel previously approved other gun measures, including expanded background checks and tougher laws against gun trafficking and straw purchases, that analysts believe have a stronger chance of Senate passage.

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