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GOP Rethinking Gun Policy?

A spate of school shootings and other gun crimes may be having an impact in the long-stalled effort to get at least some gun-control measures approved by Congress, reports CBS News Correspondent Diana Olick.

Some powerful gun-control opponents appear to be rethinking their stands.

In an unexpected move, a chief GOP negotiator has floated a gun-control plan, including items that House Republicans voted down just a few months ago.

On the House floor, the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Henry Hyde, R-Ill., said, "We are working on common-sense gun legislation."

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Hyde told CBS News, "Well of course we've had these horrendous killings at the hgh schools and at the church. Even the most reticent person on gun issues has been sensitized to this."

Hyde confirmed that legislators negotiating the juvenile justice bill have agreed to:

  • restrict the import of large ammunition clips;
  • force the use of safety locks on handguns;
  • tighten laws on juvenile offenders;
  • and restrict juveniles from possessing assault weapons.
These same measures were voted down by Republicans last June.

"I will agree some people don't want a bill," said Hyde. "They don't want any bill."

Speaker Hastert on Face the Nation

Speaking Sunday on CBS' Face the Nation, Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert denied the Republicans have watered down the bill. "We still have the trigger locks and the ammunition clip limitations and those types of things that are in the bill," he insisted. "I think we'll have a good common sense bill when we get done. We just need bipartisan support to pass it."

Gun shows remain the sticking point: how to define them and how long the waiting period should be for background checks at shows.

"We're trying to find a compromise on that time limit," Hastert said.

"I'm not sure there's enough in one party or the other to pass this," said Hyde, "but if we can combine people who do agree with what we're doing, we can get the bill."

Combining people has not exactly been a strong point for this Congress.

Already, Democrats tell CBS News they're not as close to an agreement as Chairman Hyde says on any of the provisions, while other Republicans claim Democrats would rather keep gun control as a campaign issue than pass it into law.

Asked if he would promise that the bill would come to a vote in the House, Speaker Hastert replied, "absolutely."