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GOP House panel chairman will consider gun bills

7:14 PM, Feb 22, 2013   |    comments
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WASHINGTON (AP) - The Republican chairman of the House Judiciary Committee says he's interested in writing legislation this year that would improve background checks for gun buyers and cracking down on illegal firearms sales.

In an interview, Virginia congressman Bob Goodlatte says the federal background check system should be fixed to make sure people with serious mental illnesses don't get firearms.

Under federal law, criminals and people with major mental problems are barred from buying guns. States are supposed to supply the federal background check system with buyers' mental health records, but often they do not because of privacy rules and other barriers.

Until now, House GOP leaders have only said they will wait to act until the Democratic-run Senate produces legislation.

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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