After an episode in New York City over the weekend, the health of Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton is now being questioned even by the so-called “mainstream” media. Rumors are circulating that her choice for vice president, Tim Kaine, just might have to step to the front of the ticket. While such a shift seems very unlikely before Nov. 8, if Clinton were to win, Kaine would be first in line to replace her should she become unable to carry out her responsibilities as president. This makes it critical that those who cherish the Second Amendment also look closely at Kaine’s record on guns.
Clinton has said, “Tim has a backbone of steel. Just ask the NRA. Over and over again he has had the courage to stand up to the gun lobby in their own backyard.”
Kaine has also boasted that he has beaten the NRA every time. Kaine said, “I know the NRA. They’re headquartered in my state, in Virginia. They campaigned against me in every statewide race that I’ve ever run, but I’ve never lost.”
The truth is, Kaine has shifted positions on issues related to guns to whatever is politically expedient at the time.Last July, Time magazine wrote: “The NRA, which has its national headquarters in Virginia, has long loathed Kaine and the policies he has promoted. Kaine has consistently been ranked an F by the group’s political arm, and in 2012 the group sank into an unsuccessful campaign against him.”
This is a false narrative, as it is based on the premise that Kaine has consistently run on an agenda of gun control and that, while doing so, he has won every time. The truth is, Kaine has shifted positions on issues related to guns to whatever is politically expedient at the time. That’s what many politicians do, but Kaine has been duplicitous to a degree that would embarrass most politicians.
And it has embarrassed him.
When he was mayor of Richmond in 2000, Kaine spent $7,000 of public funds to rent buses to transport anti-gun activists to a gun-control rally in Washington, D.C., headed by then-Democratic presidential candidate Al Gore. After many Virginians protested Kaine’s use of public money for this political spectacle, Kaine eventually agreed to raise private funds to reimburse the city.
A year later, when Kaine was running for lieutenant governor, he knew he had to trick rural Virginia voters into thinking he wouldn’t attack their gun rights. He rebranded himself as hunter who cherished the Second Amendment. He even had camouflage-decorated bumper stickers printed up.
In 2005, when Kaine was running for governor of Virginia, his website said, “Tim Kaine strongly supports the Second Amendment. As the next governor of Virginia, he will not propose any new gun laws.”
His Republican opponent, former state Attorney General Jerry Kilgore said, “To hear him say it during the governor’s race, he was pro-Second Amendment, no restrictions. That’s not been his life in public policy. I’ve said all along: He will say anything an audience wants to hear.”
Kaine was governor of Virginia when the Virginia Tech mass murderer preyed on innocents in a “gun-free zone.” Many in his party are now applauding how Kaine responded to the horrific crime. They say this gives Kaine a moral mandate to further restrict the rights of law-abiding citizens.Last June, he even joined a Senate “sit-in” to push for so-called “universal” background check legislation and other gun-control schemes.
At the time, Kaine walked away from a pledge he had made to not push for more gun control. He backed, unsuccessfully, a state law that would have required background checks on private gun sales. The bill died in committee after it was widely noted that the restriction would not have stopped the massacre at Virginia Tech since the murderer bought his handguns from licensed dealers and underwent background checks.
Meanwhile, Kaine likes to take credit for a fix to the background check system. The Virginia Tech murderer had been declared to be mentally ill by a judge, but this record had not been submitted to the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) by the state. This problem, however, was fixed in a bipartisan fashion, not by a crusade from Kaine himself.
In his run for the U.S. Senate in 2012, Kaine opted to again keep quiet on issues related to guns. However, once he made it to the Senate, Kaine voted for a number of gun-control bills, including legislation intended to ban semi-automatic firearms and magazines that hold more than 10 rounds. Last June, he even joined a Senate “sit-in” to push for so-called “universal” background check legislation and other gun-control schemes.
Although Kaine has often hidden his real agenda on guns, the gun-ban group Brady Campaign To Prevent Gun Violence (formerly Handgun Control Inc.) understands him perfectly. That organization has backed Kaine in his elections. Clinton also knows he is arm-in-arm with her ideas for banning popular firearms and more. Kaine isn’t simply getting in step with Hillary’s views on your right to bear arms now that he is the VP candidate—he has long been marching to reduce every citizen’s ability to own and carry firearms for sport and self-defense.
Kaine has even equated gun ownership with child pornography. In a 2013 op-ed in the Virginia Pilot, Kaine wrote, “… just as we know that the First Amendment’s protection of free speech gives no protection to slander or child pornography, we also understand that the individual right to bear arms is tempered by a responsibility to society.”
Also as the NRA noted in 2012, “As chairman of the Democratic National Committee, Tim Kaine strongly supported the nomination of Sonia Sotomayor for the U.S. Supreme Court—the same Sonia Sotomayor who signed an opinion saying that Americans do not have an individual right to keep and bear arms.”
Tim Kaine would clearly be a Hillary Clinton surrogate with regards to your right to bear arms. With her health now in question, that could make a big difference this November—and for the next four years.