Hillary Clinton’s choice for running mate Friday, former Virginia governor and current U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine, is a Harvard Law grad who has long-championed increased regulation on guns.
Kaine has been the party figurehead, serving as chair of the Democratic National Committee after stints on the Richmond City Council and later Mayor of Virginia’s largest city, then very narrow 50-48 and 51-46 wins in subsequent races for lieutenant governor and governor.
The Commonwealth’s chief executive during the 2007 Virginia Tech shooting, Kaine appointed a special review panel to probe the event. In the days after, Kaine issued an executive order expanding mental health reporting for gun background checks.
Kaine has been a political ally of Virginia’s current Gov. Terry McAulifee, a fellow Democrat. Since taking office, McAuliffee has tightened gun regulations, with Kaine’s support, and sought to restore voting rights to some 250,000 by executive order for the upcoming general election, though courts in the state are not amused.
Currently on his first term as Virginia’s junior U.S. Senator, taking a seat left open by former Reagan-era Secretary of the Navy Jim Webb, Kaine has largely held the party-line that has included votes on expanded background checks for private gun sales, co-sponsoring measures to limit magazine size, taking guns from those with domestic violence orders, closing the “Charleston Loophole” and supporting no fly/no buy legislation. Last year, he introduced a bill to make it a crime to sell guns to criminals that gun rights groups classified as redundant.
Last month, Kaine joined in a 14-hour Democrat filibuster in the Senate led by Connecticut’s Chris Murphy, shown above, stumping for a vote on gun control measures. He subsequently voted for a failed background check expansion bill dubbed Brady 2.0 by the Brady Campaign.
In his statement earlier this month on the attack on Baton Rouge police officers that left three dead, Kaine addressed gun control, saying, “I am deeply troubled that it is so easy for people who plan these crimes – and other mass shootings – to obtain the murderous weaponry that allow them to carry out such cold-blooded attacks.”
All this has led the NRA Political Victory Fund in the past to give Kaine an “F” rating while gun control organizations have repeatedly praised him.
“Since the very beginning of Moms Demand Action, Sen. Kaine has been a champion of our organization and cause,” wrote Moms Demand Action Founder Shannon Watts on Saturday, posting an image of the Senator with herself and children at an event for the group. “He’s been there for us every step of the way, and now we’ll make sure Clinton/Kaine wins the White House.”
The group and their allies see Clinton’s pick of Kaine as further evidence that guns will play an important part of the coming election.
“With a Clinton-Kaine ticket, it’s clear that the political calculus has changed: Candidates are now running on a platform of gun safety and bucking the NRA, from the presidential ticket on down,” said Everytown President John Fienblatt in a statement this weekend. “Voters have a clear choice in November if they want to elect leaders who will fight gun violence: They are Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine.”
Just got off the phone with Hillary. I’m honored to be her running mate. Can’t wait to hit the trail tomorrow in Miami!
— Senator Tim Kaine (@timkaine) July 23, 2016