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The Boston Globe

Nation

Sides drawn as hearings on guns begin

Giffords makes poignant pleas in divisive debate

WASHINGTON — The universe of potential changes to federal gun laws seemed to shrink Wednesday during an occasionally fraught Senate hearing on gun violence as lawmakers and proponents of more gun rules tussled with gun rights advocates over the availability of some types of weapons and ammunition. In the end, chances for a ban on assault weapons dimmed, and compromise seemed elusive.

The hearing, the first held by the Senate Judiciary Committee since the mass shooting last month in a Newtown, Conn., school, began on a poignant note as former representative Gabrielle Giffords, who was critically injured in a 2011 shooting, addressed the committee slowly and with passion, essentially begging them to come up with legislation to address gun violence.

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