WASHINGTON - A catchall government spending bill being debated by the Senate makes four long-standing gun protections permanent, including one preventing the Justice Department from requiring firearms dealers to conduct inventories to make sure weapons haven't been stolen.
Congressional aides from both parties say there are six pro-gun provisions that Congress has enacted annually in its spending bills since at least 2004.
They say that for this year's bill the Republican-led House wanted to make them all permanent. The aides say only four were made permanent, in exchange for the House dropping a seventh provision barring the government from requiring gun dealers to report some sales of two or more firearms popular with Mexican drug cartels.
The aides spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss lawmakers' deliberations.