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House Passes Bill to Keep Creditors From Taking Guns

Congress, Gun Bill passes AP

If you file for bankruptcy, you run the risk of losing your money and your car to creditors.

But under a measure that just overwhelmingly passed the House of Representatives, one thing they would not be able to take is your gun.

The House this afternoon passed a bill that would change the law to allow someone going through bankruptcy proceedings to retain their rifles, shotguns, and pistols so long as they are worth less than $3,000 combined. (CBS Radio Capitol Hill correspondent Bob Fuss reports that, under the law, if you keep just one firearm, there is no such limit on its value.)

Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-VT, introduced a similar measure in the Senate yesterday. The bill passed the House 307 to 113.

The House measure was introduced by freshman Democratic Rep. John Boccieri of Ohio, who argues that "We must protect the rights guaranteed to us by our founding fathers, no matter what financial circumstances a citizen might face," according to The Plain Dealer.

The National Rifle Association, possibly the most powerful lobbying group in Washington, endorsed the measure, saying in part, "We think it is reasonable for folks who are in financial distress to have an effective means of defending themselves."

Many states already have carve-outs for firearms in bankruptcy proceedings.

New York Democratic Rep. Carolyn McCarthy argued on the House floor that the measure is a mistake, the Plain Dealer reports, arguing that having guns in households that are going through bankruptcy could increase the risks of suicide and violence.

Brian Montopoli

Brian Montopoli is the national reporter and political analyst for CBSNews.com.

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