The Senate Judiciary Committee approved Democratic-sponsored measures Tuesday to expand the nation's gun background check system and a Justice Department program that funds school security plans.

The 18-member committee approved the background check bill on a party-line vote of 10 to 8; the school security bill passed on a broader margin of 14 to 4.

The background check bill, sponsored by Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.), lacks bipartisan support, and is seen as a placeholder as the New York lawmaker continues negotiating with moderate Republicans and Democrats on an alternative bill that would permit limited exceptions to the background check program for firearm transfers between family members and possibly close friends.

"This isn’t going to be a perfect bill, but it will sure reduce crimes," Schumer said before the committee voted.