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Va. Tech shootings may aid bill's passage

NEW YORK, April 23 (UPI) -- A bill for a more stringent background-check system for gun purchasers may get U.S. Congress approval because of the recent tragedy at Virginia Tech.

The Christian Science Monitor reported Monday that in the wake of last week's deadly shooting at the university, a stalled bill in Congress for more rigorous background checks for potential firearm customers may gain passage.

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Cho Seung-hui, the Virginia Tech student who killed 32 others and himself last Monday, had obtained a firearm at a federally licensed store having once been deemed mentally ill.

Virginia mandates that an individual must be committed to a mental institution before they can be banned from purchasing a firearm. Yet federal law states that someone who is "adjudicated as a mental defective" should be dealt such a ban.

Advocates of the bill for a more stringent National Instant Criminal Background Check System said its potential rewards completely outweighed its possible hazards.

"The American people would be willing to put up with a little more red tape if it stops some of the yellow crime-scene tape," Paul Helmke of Washington's Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence told the Monitor.

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