Sen. Tim Kaine, D.-Va., slammed the vow by Sen. Rand Paul, R.-Ky., and 11 other senators to filibuster any discussion of gun safety is an attempt to block debate and a vote on any proposals.
“I’m not afraid of the debate,” Kaine said in an op-ed essay published in the Virginian-Pilot of Norfolk.
“After extensive discussion with our citizens (many are gun-owners like me) – I’m prepared to vote,” Kaine wrote.
He said the nation needs a better background record check system, noting that the 2007 Virginia Tech mass shooting “happened after a dangerous young man illegally bought weapons due to a loophole in the records check system” and that “when we fixed it, we made Virginia safer.”
Kaine said gaps still exist and more than 40 percent of gun sales occur with no check to ensure that purchasers are legally able to possess weapons.
He said he also believes that some limits on gun trafficking across state lines, super-size magazines and certain combat-style weapons make sense.
“I especially don’t want a tiny minority of senators and powerful lobbyists to block the legislative branch from even considering and voting on these proposals,” Kaine said.
He said the power of National Rifle Association and other gun rights groups “is vastly overrated,” adding that the NRA’s leaders campaigned vigorously against him in three statewide races, spending nearly $800,000 against him in the 2012 Senate race. Kaine won all three elections.