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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - The Missouri Constitution already enshrines the right to bear arms, but a state senator wants to expand that protection.

The Senate General Laws Committee scheduled a vote Monday on the proposal by Republican Sen. Kurt Schaefer, of Columbia.

The proposed constitutional amendment would define the right to bear arms as "inalienable" and require the state to defend against any "infringement" of that right.

Schaefer filed his measure shortly after President Barack Obama outlined his plans for stricter federal gun control laws.

If passed by both the House and Senate, the constitutional amendment would need to be approved by Missouri voters.
Published in Local News
WASHINGTON (AP) - A small, bipartisan group of senators is quietly trying to reach a compromise on expanding the requirement for background checks to cover nearly all gun purchases. A deal could give political momentum to one of the key elements of President Barack Obama's gun-control plan.

The private talks involve liberal Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York, who is the No. 3 Senate Democratic leader, and West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin, a National Rifle Association member and one of the Senate's more moderate Democrats.

On the Republican side, participants are Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, another NRA member and one of the more conservative lawmakers in Congress, and moderate Sen. Mark Kirk of Illinois.

The NRA says expanding background checks would do little good because criminals largely get their guns illegally.
Published in National News
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan is seeking public input on concealed carry of firearms and gun safety at two hearings later this month.

The Chicago Democrat announced Thursday that the Judiciary Committee will have public hearings Feb. 19 at the state Capitol and Feb. 22 in Chicago.

Madigan says the hearings will allow gun-rights advocates, gun-control supporters and police to "offer their views and argue their cases" on the issues.

A federal court rejected the state's concealed-carry ban in December and demanded the Illinois Legislature adopt some form of firearms possession.

Madigan says hearings are important after the court decision and the December school massacre in Connecticut.

Concealed-carry legislation that narrowly failed in 2011 has been re-introduced in the Illinois House.
Published in Local News
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