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The Journal Gazette

Wednesday, April 17, 2013 5:11 pm

Lautenberg returns to Senate for gun votes

By ANDREW MIGAAssociated Press

Sen. Frank Lautenberg of New Jersey has returned to the Senate after being absent for more than six weeks.

The nation's oldest senator, 89, was in a wheelchair on Wednesday as he cast his first vote since Feb. 28 to a smattering of applause from fellow Democrats.

He has been sidelined with pain and weakness in his legs after a bout with the flu and bronchitis in late December and January. His doctor had advised him not to travel in recent weeks as he worked to rebuild his strength.

A longtime advocate of gun control, Lautenberg returned to Washington for a key series of votes, including on a proposal to expand background checks of gun purchases.

Lautenberg said in February he would retire next year and not seek re-election.