The House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday approved a seven-day waiting period on handgun purchases.
Rep. Edward F. Feighan (D-Ohio), the bill's sponsor, called the committee's 27-9 vote for approval "a great victory in the war against crime."
Sponsors say the measure would give police time to check the backgrounds of would-be handgun buyers. It is known as the Brady bill, after Jim Brady, the former White House press secretary who was shot and disabled in the 1981 attack on President Ronald Reagan.
In the Senate, a similar bill has been introduced by Sen. Howard M. Metzenbaum (D-Ohio).
The House Judiciary Committee on Monday approved an omnibus crime bill that would increase from 5 to 10 years in prison the maximum penalty for using a sawed-off shotgun or rifle in a drug-related crime. It also would set a 30-year sentence for using a bomb or hand grenade.
Earlier, the committee approved legislation to curb assault-type weapons. It would ban about 12 models that are made in the United States.
The Senate-passed version of omnibus crime legislation would ban the import or domestic manufacture of nine types of assault-style firearms.
Before approving the handgun bill, the House committee defeated a proposal that would have required the states to upgrade police computer systems so that felons attempting to buy guns could be screened out via point-of-purchase telephone identification.