Chicago Sun-Times
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Mark Kirk sits down with Newtown families

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U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) met today with parents of children killed in the Newtown school shooting massacre this afternoon in Washington as the Senate is poised to vote on a series of gun bills.

"He believes it is essential to know the stories of victim's families and learn about the victims themselves," Trover said of Kirk.

Newtown parents have been meeting with a series of Senators over the last several weeks.

In another victim visit aimed at having an impact on the direction of gun legislation, former U.S. Rep. Gabby Giffords and husband Mark Kelly met with Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) a moderate Democrat with whom Kirk is close and who led the effort to strike a gun deal compromise.

Kirk has taken an aggressive approach on curbing gun violence, including helping craft legislation that would take aim at gun traffickers and voicing support for background check expansion. He has also long supported an assault weapon ban.

"Sen. Kirk has been a major proponent of fighting dangerous drug gangs who are terrorizing our neighborhoods - and fighting for universal background checks and tougher penalties for straw purchasing is a part of that fight. Beyond his work to fight these gangs, he was greatly troubled by the Newtown tragedy," Trover said. "He looks forward to meeting with the families affected by this horrible event and hearing ways he can help to curb violence in our country."

Last month, Kirk told the Sun-Times he named a section of new legislation after Chicago victim Hadiya Pendleton in the hope it would give the measure, which aimed to curb trafficking, a greater chance of passage.

Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) met with Newtown families last Thursday morning. The families have been lobbying on Capitol Hill in advance of the Senate votes.

A series of votes are expected at 4 p.m. ET today.

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