WASHINGTON -- A background-check bill that has been seen as a gun measure that could win bipartisan support in Congress was approved by a Senate committee Tuesday on a party-line vote, with all Republicans voting no.
The Senate Judiciary Committee voted 10-8 to send to the full Senate a bill to expand background checks for nearly all gun purchases, including those at gun shows and through the Internet. Only licensed firearms must conduct checks now.
"I've been talking and am continuing to talk with colleagues across the political spectrum and across the aisle about a compromise approach and I remain optimistic that we'll be able to roll one out," Schumer said.
But he also expressed frustration about opposition to a bill that's key to President Barack Obama's response to the Newtown, Conn., school shootings.
"It's sad," Schumer said. "Right after Newtown, there was a view that maybe the right place that we could all come together on was background checks, because background checks, unlike some of the other proposals here, which I support, do not interfere with the law-abiding citizens' right to bear arms."
A key objection to the bill is its requirement that individual sellers, such as licensed gun dealers, keep records of their sales.
Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa), the committee's top Republican, said the bill would lead to a federal gun registry. Schumer denied it. He said the bill states explicitly it will not create a registry.
Schumer had negotiated on the bill with Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), but Coburn ended talks last week. Schumer also worked with Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.V.) and Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.). But they say they can't back the bill as it is now.
With a Democratic majority, the committee will vote to approve all four gun-related bills.
Tuesday, the committee also voted 14-4 for a bill to fund school-safety initiatives. Last week, the committee approved a bill to curb gun trafficking, sponsored by Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.).
Thursday, it will debate and vote on an assault weapon ban.