Loophole Public Hearing

Families and friends of the Virginia Tech shooting victims packed a public hearing Monday to support legislation closing a loophole that allows criminals and the mentally ill to buy firearms at gun shows without a background check.

Supporters of the bill outnumbered opponents by about 3-to-1. The Senate Courts of Justice Committee will vote on the bill Wednesday.

Licensed dealers already must conduct background checks at gun shows. The bill would extend that requirement to private sellers.

Gun-rights advocates noted that the weapon used in the Tech shootings was not purchased at a gun show. But supporters of the bill said the next tragedy could be the result of such a sale.

Joe Samaha, whose daughter Reema was one of the 32 people slain at Tech, told the committee, "You can no longer say you have not been forewarned."


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