AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — A bill targeting ‘‘straw purchases’’ and trafficking of firearms, co-sponsored by Maine and Vermont senators, has cleared its first hurdle in Washington.
In a bipartisan vote Thursday, the Senate Judiciary Committee approved legislation authored by Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine and the committee chairman, Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont.
Collins says the committee vote is the first related to gun violence in either the Senate or the House since the Newtown, Conn., killings in December.
The bill closes a big loophole in federal law by penalizing ‘‘straw’’ purchasers, who buy firearms for another person who is prohibited from obtaining one on his own.
The Leahy-Collins bill is endorsed by several law enforcement groups.