WASHINGTON (NBC) -- Tougher gun control came one step closer to law Thursday on Capitol Hill as the Senate voted to begin debate on closing the so called "gun show loophole" and requiring millions more background checks before gun sales.
The Republican filibuster against even considering the bill fell apart.
The Senate voted 68-31 to open debate.
The bill would require background checks for all sales at gun shows and on the internet.
"It is a starting point. It is a step in the right direction," said Connecticut Senator Richard Blumenthal.
Families of the Sandy Hook massacre victims came to Capitol Hill to help push the Senate.
President Obama phoned them with congratulations afterward.
Jillian Soto, whose sister died at Sandy Hook, watched the debate and vote.
"The emotion was bittersweet because of the shock that we even have to do this and have this discussion," she said.
Just 55 percent in the new NBC poll favor tougher gun control, and most Republicans object.
"This bill is clear overreach that will predominantly punish and harass our neighbors, our friends and our families," argued Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.
And if tougher background checks pass the Senate, there's trouble in the House.
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