US lawmakers clash over guns at Senate hearing

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Associated Press

Posted on February 12, 2013 at 10:07 AM

Updated Tuesday, Feb 12 at 11:04 AM

WASHINGTON (AP) — A top U.S. Senate Democrat says the toll that gun violence is taking on families makes it clear that Congress needs to pass more firearms restrictions.

Sen. Richard Durbin told a hearing of a Senate Judiciary subcommittee Tuesday that it's time for lawmakers to act. He says he believes steps like requiring background checks for all gun purchases would be constitutional, and he says current laws have too many gaps.

Disagreeing is Sen. Ted Cruz, the panel's top Republican. He says the focus of law enforcement should be on criminals and argues that curbing the rights of citizens to own gun would do nothing to stop violent crime.

Lawmakers are arguing the constitutionality of proposed controls.

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Associated Press writer Alan Fram contributed.

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