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Democratic VP Candidate Tim Kaine on Gun Control: “I can't think of an issue I'd rather be aligned with than this”

Friday, September 9, 2016

Democratic VP Candidate Tim Kaine on Gun Control: “I can't think of an issue I'd rather be aligned with than this”

In May 2000, Tim Kaine, then-mayor of Richmond, Va., used more than $6,000 in public funds to charter eight buses. The buses were used to transport city residents from Richmond to the anti-gun, and inaccurately named, Million Mom March in Washington, D.C. 

The Million Mom March was sponsored and organized by extremist gun control organization the Bell Campaign, which was later renamed the Million Mom March Foundation. The Bell Campaign supported a litany of gun control measures, including gun rationing, a ban on the possession of commonly-owned semi-automatic firearms and their magazines, firearm owner licensing, and gun registration. In regards to the right to keep and bear arms, the Bell Campaign contended, “The Second Amendment does not, and never did, protect the private ownership of guns for private purposes.”

Following a public outcry over the use of public funds for political purposes, including criticism from Richmond City Council members, Kaine was forced to seek private funds to reimburse the city. Despite the disapproval of citizens and his fellow public officials, Kaine was reluctant to admit wrongdoing, with the Richmond Times-Dispatch noting, “Kaine defended the subsidy on the ground that Richmond always has supported stricter gun laws.” At the time, the Times-Dispatch also reported that in regard to gun control, Kaine said, “I can't think of an issue I'd rather be aligned with than this.”

This gross misuse of taxpayer dollars to advocate for extreme gun controls is indicative of Kaine’s 20 year public career, during which he has ceaselessly attacked the rights of law-abiding gun owners. In choosing Kaine as her running mate, Hillary Clinton has chosen one of the rare politicians that comes close to matching her zeal for restricting gun rights.

Even before his anti-gun pilfering of the public coffer, Kaine was hard at work targeting Virginia gun owners. In 1997, as a Richmond City Councilman, Kaine suggested that the Virginia cities of Richmond, Fairfax, and Roanoke should team up to push a gun control agenda in the Virginia General Assembly. On June 1, 1999, then-Mayor Kaine was a noted guest at the White House Rose Garden for speeches by President Bill Clinton and First Lady Hillary Clinton. A primary topic of both Clintons’ remarks was gun control, with the president specifically advocating for legislation that would eliminate traditional gun shows, and for further restrictions on standard capacity magazines.

In 2001, Kaine ran for Lieutenant Governor of Virginia. During the campaign, Kaine staked out several anti-gun positions. On October 29, 2001, the anti-gun Washington Post endorsed Kaine, citing his support for Virginia’s one-handgun-a-month rationing law and restrictions on the Right-to-Carry in restaurants that serve alcohol. Kaine also earned the endorsement of the Brady Campaign, who called him the “clear choice,” noting, “As Mayor of Richmond, Kaine was a strong supporter of enforcing and strengthening Virginia gun laws…”

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mark Warner sought to differentiate between his views and Kaine’s extreme anti-gun positions. A June 14, 2001 Associated Press item reported, “Warner, who does not favor additional firearms restrictions, already is trying to distance himself from his ticketmate on gun control. He acknowledged at a news conference Wednesday that he disagrees with lieutenant governor nominee Tim Kaine… on the issue.”

In 2005, Kaine ran for Governor of Virginia. During the race, Kaine worked to disguise his anti-gun politics. Doing his best John Kerry impression, Kaine posed as a sportsman at a skeet shooting event, shotgun in hand.

For this race, Kaine staked out a curious position on guns by contending that he was not for further gun control, while openly advocating for further gun control. The Roanoke Times fell victim to Kaine’s ruse when on August 27, 2005 they summarized the candidate’s incongruent position by noting, “Kaine said he doesn't favor the creation of more gun control laws, but does believe the ones that exist should be enforced - and indicated he would back an extension of instant background checks at gun shows for all sellers, not just licensed ones.” Kaine’s misleading gun stance led Richmond Times-Dispatch commentator A. Barton Hinkle to write, “He isn't fooling anyone -- so why does he continue to try?”

Once governor, Kaine pursued his anti-gun agenda at every opportunity. In April 2006, Kaine vetoed legislation that would have permitted law-abiding gun owners to store a firearm in a locked container within a vehicle without obtaining Right-to-Carry permit.

In April 2007, in the aftermath of the tragic shooting at Virginia Tech, Kaine wasted no time in pushing for gun control. The Roanoke Times reported that on April 26, 2007, only 10 days after the shooting, the opportunistic Kaine “said he thought the time might be right to press the General Assembly to address the gun-show loophole.” On January 8, 2008 Kaine continued his push to eliminate traditional gun shows, stating, “Now more than ever in the aftermath of April 16th, Virginians understand that this is a public safety issue.” Typical of gun control efforts, the legislation Kaine sought to enact could not have prevented the tragedy he cited to advance it. The perpetrator of the Virginia Tech shooting did not purchase the two firearms used in the attack at a gun show. Kaine’s gun show legislation was rejected in committee in 2008, and rejected by the Senate again in 2009.

In March 2008, Kaine again vetoed legislation that would have permitted law-abiding individuals to possess a firearm in a locked container within their car without obtaining a Right-to-Carry permit. Kaine also vetoed legislation that would have allowed Right-to-Carry permit holders to carry concealed in restaurants that serves alcohol.

In March 2009, Kaine once again vetoed vehicle and restaurant carry legislation. Kaine also vetoed separate legislation that would have merely permitted retired law enforcement officers to exercise their Right-to-Carry in restaurants that serve alcohol. Further, Kaine rejected legislation that would have made it easier to obtain a Right-to-Carry permit, by allowing applicants to complete the requisite training online.  He also rejected legislation exempting active-duty service members from Virginia’s one-handgun-a-month law.

Overlapping with his term as governor of Virginia, Kaine served as chairman of the Democratic National Committee from January 2009 to April 2011. In this role, Kaine advocated for federal gun control legislation offered by Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-N.Y.) that would have banned magazines with a capacity greater than 10 rounds. As pointed out by the Huffington Post, during an appearance on Political Capital with Al Hunt in January 2011, Kaine expressed his support for McCarthy’s bill, stating that it was the “kind of legislation that I’ve long supported.”

Since January 2013, Kaine has served as the junior senator from Virginia, and has continually used his seat to advance an anti-gun agenda. 

In the wake of the December 2012 shooting in Newtown, Conn. gun control advocates forced votes on several pieces of gun control legislation on April 17, 2013. The centerpiece of the gun control effort was the Manchin amendment, which would have banned the private transfer of firearms at gun shows and in transactions pursuant to an online or print publication. Kaine voted in favor of the restrictions.

That same day, Kaine voted in favor Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s (D-Calif.) amendment to ban commonly-owned semi-automatic firearms and magazines with a capacity greater than 10 rounds. Worse than the 1994 Clinton ban, the Feinstein amendment would have banned semi-automatic firearms that accept a detachable magazine and have only one disqualifying feature, such as a pistol grip or telescoping stock. Similarly, Kaine voted for Sen. Joe Lautenberg’s (D-N.J.) amendment to ban magazines with a capacity greater than 10 rounds.

When presented the opportunity to vote to protect the rights of law-abiding gun owners, Kaine declined to do so. Kaine voted against a NRA-supported Right-to-Carry reciprocity amendment that would have ensured that Right-to-Carry permits granted in one state would be honored in all others. Kaine also opposed an NRA-supported amendment that would have improved the availability of disqualifying mental health information for NICS, clarified the definition of “adjudicated as a mental defective” to protect due process rights, required more robust prosecutions of federal firearm laws including straw purchases, restricted the unlawful practice of multiple sales reporting for certain types of semi-automatic long-guns, and permitted interstate handgun sales.

Incredibly, despite representing a state with one of the largest per capita populations of veterans, Kaine opposed an NRA-supported amendment to ensure that veterans’ Second Amendment rights would not be stripped without due process of law. The amendment was crafted to address an ongoing Veterans Administration practice where a veteran’s Second Amendment rights are removed following something as cursory as the agency’s decision to assign the veteran a fiduciary to manage their VA benefits.

On December 3, 2015, Kaine made it clear to all that he values the Fifth Amendment no more than the Second, when he voted in favor of terror watch list gun control legislation offered by Sen. Feinstein. The legislation would have illegitimately empowered the federal government to strip the Second Amendment rights of an individual on a secret government watch list absent the due process guaranteed by the Fifth Amendment.

On June 20, 2016, Kaine again voted an iteration of Sen. Feinstein’s terror watch list gun control legislation. Further, Kaine supported legislation offered by Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) that would have required nearly all firearms transfers to be conducted pursuant to a background check and through a Federal Firearms Licensee. The legislation also attacked gun owner privacy by placing a burden on gun owners to report lost or stolen firearms to the federal government within 48 hours.

In addition to his objectionable voting record, Kaine has sponsored or co-sponsored a host of anti-gun legislation in the 114th Congress. Kaine is a cosponsor for the latest iteration of Sen. Charles Schumer’s “Fix Gun Checks Act,” which would prohibit nearly all private transfers of firearms. Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) gained Kaine’s support for a bill to eliminate the three-day safety valve for NICS checks, which would empower the FBI to severely delay firearms transfers. Kaine also signed on to Robert Menendez’s (D-N.J.) legislation that would ban magazines capable of holding more than 10 rounds.

In September 2015, Kaine introduced his, “Responsible Transfer of Firearms Act.” The legislation would hold dealers liable for transferring a firearm to a prohibited person, unless they had “taken reasonable steps to determine that the recipient [was] not legally barred from possessing firearms or ammunition…” This ambiguous burden is presumably in addition to the background checks dealers are already required to conduct on their customers. In a further attack on the firearms industry and its customers, in January 2016, Kaine cosponsored legislation to repeal the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act.

Of all the gun controls Kaine has supported during his time in the Senate, his support for one particular anti-gun measure seems most fitting. In June 2016, Kaine announced his support for efforts to repeal the prohibition on the Centers for Disease Control’s use of public funds to advocate for gun control.

More than 15-years after being rebuked for squandering taxpayer dollars on gun control advocacy as mayor of Richmond, Kaine is still eager to attack gun own owners’ rights by any means at his disposal, and he still isn’t above looting the public treasury to do it. 

It doesn’t appear, over this 20 year career, that Kaine has ever seen a type of gun control that he wasn’t in favor of.  Clinton, based on her commitment to destroying the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding Americans, couldn’t have chosen a more suitable running mate.

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Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.