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In a major defeat for supporters of tougher gun laws, the U.S. Senate on Wednesday defeated a compromise plan to expand background checks on firearms sales as well as a proposal to ban some semi-automatic weapons modeled after military assault weapons.

The votes were on a series of amendments to a broad package of gun laws pushed by President Barack Obama and Democratic leaders in the aftermath of the Newtown school massacre in December.

However, fierce opposition by the powerful National Rifle Association led a backlash by conservative Republicans and some Democrats from pro-gun states that doomed some of the major proposals in the gun package.

Get the full story at www.cnn.com.