House lawmakers have passed two bills aimed at strengthening the nation's gun laws, including a bill that would require background checks on all gun sales and transfers.

The top Senate Democrat vowed to bring up legislation expanding background checks up for a vote, but it does not have the 60 votes needed in the chamber to advance.

With Democrats in full control of Congress, lawmakers hope that the legislation will find more support, after Democratic-led efforts to pass tougher gun control laws have repeatedly failed since the 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut.

"The gun violence crisis in America is a challenge to the conscience of our country - one that demands that we act," House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said.

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