A state Senate committee killed legislation backed by families of the Virginia Tech shooting victims to close a loophole that allows criminals and the mentally ill to buy firearms at gun shows without a background check.

The Courts of Justice Committee voted 9-6 Wednesday to reject the bill before sending it to the Virginia State Crime Commission for study. A House of Delegates committee last week rejected similar legislation, so the issue appears to be dead for this General Assembly session.

The bill would have required private sellers to run criminal background checks on buyers at gun shows. Federally licensed dealers already are required to conduct such checks.

The gunman who killed 32 people at Virginia Tech before killing himself in April did not buy his firearms at a gun show, but families of the victims supported the bill as one way to prevent a similar tragedy.