Across the Nation

Police in Portland, Ore., have arrested a man who is suspected of making harassing phone calls and sending upsetting e-mails to the families of those killed in the Aurora theater shooting.

PORTLAND, Ore. | An Oregon man has been accused of harassing at least a dozen families of the victims of the mass shooting in Aurora, Colo., telling them the killings didn’t happen or the caskets of victims were empty. Kevin Purfield of Portland was to be arraigned Thursday on telephone harassment and stalking counts, both […]

PORTLAND, Ore. | Police say they have arrested a Portland man for harassing the families of victims of the mass shooting in Aurora, Colo., last July. Kevin Purfield is accused of emailing, calling and using social media to contact the victims’ relatives. Investigators say the communications weren’t threatening, but were annoying and included “vile language.” […]

Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., right, and Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., finish a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, April 10, 2013, announcing that they have reached a compromise on background checks for gun buyers in the aftermath of the horrific Connecticut school shootings in December 2012.  (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

In an opening showdown Thursday, senators were scheduled to vote on an attempt by conservatives to scuttle the Democratic bill before debate even started

Sens. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., left, and Joe Manchin, D-W.Va. speak to reporters as they walk from Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's, D-Nev., office on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, April 9, 2013, after a meeting on gun control. Reid's determination to stage a vote came despite continued inconclusive talks between Manchin, Sen. Patrick Toomey, R-Pa., aimed at finding compromise on expanding background checks to more gun purchasers. But Manchin left a meeting in Reid’s office late Tuesday and said he hoped a deal could be completed on Wednesday. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

WASHINGTON | A bipartisan deal seems imminent on expanding background checks to more gun buyers, an agreement that could build support for President Barack Obama’s drive to curb firearms violence. Meanwhile, the Senate is ready for an opening vote on restricting guns as Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., set a roll call for Thursday on […]

National School Shield Task Force Director, former Arkansas Rep. Asa Hutchinson gestures during a news conference at National Press Club in Washington, Tuesday, April 2, 2013, to discuss his groups's school-guns study. The National Rifle Association's study recommends schools across the nation each train and arm at least one staff member.  (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

“The presence of an armed security personnel in a school adds a layer of security and diminishes the response time that is beneficial to the overall security,” said Asa Hutchinson, a GOP former congressman from Arkansas who directed the study.

HARTFORD, Conn. | Connecticut lawmakers announced a deal Monday on what they called some of the toughest gun laws in the country that were proposed after the December mass shooting in the state, including a ban on new high-capacity ammunition magazines like the ones used in the massacre that left 20 children and six educators […]

In this Jan. 24, 2013 file photo, Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., speaks during a news conference with a coalition of members of Congress, mayors, law enforcement officers, gun safety organizations and other groups on Capitol Hill in Washington to introduce legislation on assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition feeding devices. The Senate Judiciary Committee approved legislation Thursday toughening laws against people who illegally buy guns for others as lawmakers cast their first votes in Congress to curb firearms since December's horrific shootings at a Connecticut elementary school.    (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta, File)

“Are we really going to pass another law that will have zero effect, then pat ourselves on the back for doing something wonderful?” said Sen. John Cornyn of Texas, the No. 2 Senate Republican.

Neil Heslin, the father of a six-year-old boy who was slain in the Sandy Hook massacre in Newtown, Conn., on Dec. 14, holds a picture of himself with his son Jesse and wipes his eye while testifying on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2013, before the Senate Judiciary Committee on the Assault Weapons Ban of 2013. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

“I’m not here for the sympathy or the pat on the back,” Heslin, a 50-year-old construction worker, told the senators, weeping openly during much of his hushed 11-minute testimony. “I’m here to speak up for my son.”

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