The 2007 Virginia Tech shooting illustrates the importance of background checks for gun purchasers, Vice President Joe Biden said in Virginia Friday.
At a roundtable discussion on gun control in Richmond, Biden noted that the student who shot and killed 32 people on the Blacksburg campus shouldn't have been able to buy guns because of mental health issues.
President Barack Obama wants Congress to require background checks for all gun sales and ban both military-style assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines. The president concedes passage will be difficult.
Virginia has an avidly pro-gun tradition, but lawmakers have been debating a bill to require that private sellers conduct criminal background checks on buyers at gun shows. The current law requires only dealers to conduct the checks.