Democratic Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia is followed by reporters after a meeting on gun control, on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., April 9, 2013.
Democratic Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia is followed by reporters after a meeting on gun control, on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., April 9, 2013.

Key U.S. senators say they have reached a deal to expand background checks for firearms sales at gun shows and on the Internet, raising prospects for passage soon of a gun-control bill.

Democratic Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Republican Senator Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania negotiated the deal, calling it a “true compromise” that does not violate the constitutional right to bear arms.

The proposal appears to be the best hope for meaningful gun-control legislation following the December killing of 20 children and six adults at an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut.

Manchin and Toomey say the measure likely to pass the Senate is to include expanded background checks, more funding for school security and tighter restrictions on gun trafficking.

A ban on rapid-firing “assault” weapons and limits on the capacity of ammunition magazines, however, appear to have a slim chance of clearing the Democrat-led Senate. Such measures face an even tougher road in the Republican-controlled House of Representatives.

The Senate is scheduled to hold its first test vote on a gun-control bill on Thursday.

More than a dozen conservative Republican senators had threatened a filibuster aimed at delaying consideration of gun restrictions, but now say they will allow the vote to proceed.

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