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Committee punts on gun laws until next week

The committee tackling early versions of gun control legislation will not act on the bills for another week. 

As expected, Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee took advantage of rules allowing a one-week delay or “hold over” in addressing the newly-introduced bills.  

The extra week gives Democrats more time to hash out a deal on background checks, the gun safety proposal widely viewed as the most likely to survive the legislative process and be signed into law this year.  

Two Democrats - Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Chuck Schumer of New York - have been negotiating with Oklahoma Republican Sen. Tom Coburn on the background check legislation.

Susan Walsh / AP

Senate Judiciary Committee member Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., gets help with a green ribbon pin for the victims of Sandy Hook Elementary School, from fellow committee member Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2013.

But the bipartisan talks have slowed over disagreements related to private sellers keeping records of their gun sales.

In a hearing Thursday, committee chairman Patrick Leahy also promised Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., that the panel will vote on her bill to ban assault weapons.

But that legislation has little chance of passing the Senate. 

The committee will begin debating and making changes to the assault weapons and background check proposals –- as well as gun trafficking and school safety measures -- starting next Thursday. 

Leahy warned of late nights for lawmakers next week, saying the sessions will go "as late as necessary" each day and continue into the following week if need be.  

 

NBC’s Carrie Dann contributed to this report.

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