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Tim Kaine on gun violence: ‘We’re such an outlier in the world on this’

Chris Graham
tim kaine
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Every time there’s a mass shooting with an assault weapon, and there’s another one coming ‘round the bend, we have a minute or two of debate about banning assault weapons, before Republicans shut that down with their thoughts and prayers.

The House, with a bare Republican majority, is never going to pass an assault-weapons ban. Even the Democrat-majority Senate isn’t going to, and probably never will.

The reason why there: the filibuster.

“It’s been very difficult to contemplate in the Senate, for example, getting 60 votes. You know, I can see getting to to 53 or 54, but it’s really difficult to contemplate getting to 60,” Virginia Democrat Tim Kaine said on the topic in a chat with reporters last week.

The filibuster is not in the Constitution; it’s just something that senators do because the senators before them did it.

Kaine didn’t indicate that he wants to do anything about the stupid filibuster tradition, though he did acknowledge that he supports an assault-weapons ban, for the obvious reasons:

“These weapons are really weapons of war, that keep getting more and more lethal. I mean, we’re not standing still here. The lethality of these weapons is getting greater and greater and greater,” Kaine said.

“We’re such an outlier in the world on this,” Kaine said. “There’s areas where we’re exceptional, that we’re proud to be exceptional. This is an area where we’re exceptional, but we should feel a sense of shame and a desire to do things better.”

A lot of us do. An April 28 Fox News poll had 61 percent of us favoring a ban on assault weapons, among other strong majorities supporting 30-day waiting periods (77 percent), raising the legal age to buy guns to 21 (81 percent) and requiring background checks (87 percent).

And yet what we get: nothing.

“At some point, we’re going to get there, I believe, because the American public want us to be there,” Kaine said, following that observation with a rhetorical question.

“What is going to be the particular tragedy or the particular epiphany or the particular election result that moves the political class here in Congress to do the right thing? Some state legislatures have done the right thing, so we can get there, but we’re not quite there yet,” Kaine said.

For those who have been raising issue with the uniquely American problem with gun violence, it seems like we will never get there.

Kaine advises patience.

“We just have to keep looking for the route forward, and we should look forward, not with despair,” Kaine said. “Look, we did do a gun safety bill last year, the first bipartisan bill we’ve done in a long time, and states like Virginia have embraced more gun safety rules. And so, if we didn’t have any recent evidence that legislatures might do the right thing to keep people safer, then, you know, we might be pessimistic, but we can’t afford to be pessimistic, we’ve got to keep pressing until we, you know, can make this country safer.”

Chris Graham

Chris Graham

Chris Graham, the king of "fringe media," is the founder and editor of Augusta Free Press. A 1994 alum of the University of Virginia, Chris is the author and co-author of seven books, including Poverty of Imagination, a memoir published in 2019, and Team of Destiny: Inside Virginia Basketball’s Run to the 2019 National Championship, and The Worst Wrestling Pay-Per-View Ever, published in 2018. For his commentaries on news, sports and politics, go to his YouTube page, or subscribe to his Street Knowledge podcast. Email Chris at [email protected].