After Virginia Beach, Kaine Forum on Gun Violence Takes on New Urgency

Jun 10, 2019

State Sen. Creigh Deeds (left) and U. S. Senator Tim Kaine listen during Monday's forum in Charlottesville.
Credit Office of Sen. Tim Kaine

Senator Tim Kaine hosted a public forum on gun control Monday in Charlottesville – then spoke with reporters. 

During the forum, an elementary school teacher from Charlottesville spoke of how painful it was to hold active shooter drills with young children, and Kaine said he understood her dismay.

“She mentioned keeping a filing cabinet so that if something were to happen, she could knock the filing cabinet over so the door can’t open inward.  She also told about these drills where they have the herd all the children into the bathroom and the teacher has to stand in front of the door and be the human shield," Kaine said after the forum.  "The very fact that we put our teachers and kids through drills like that shows how sick our society has become.”

Now, with the state legislature holding a special session in July, he hopes lawmakers will at least make background checks a requirement. “That would be the thing that would do the most good," Kaine argued. "That might not have affected Virginia Beach, but it was a key factor at Virginia Tech.  It was a key factor in the Charleston church shooting.”

Despite its internal problems, he warned the National Rifle Association would still be working to prevent common sense controls on firearms. “They’re still going to be very active, but what we saw in November of 2018, at least in Virginia, which is the headquarters of the NRA, more voters going to the polls saying guns were an important issue for them wanted meaningful gun reforms than were opposed to meaningful gun reforms.”

And he urged voters to let their elected state representatives know how they feel in advance of the special session on July 9th. 

“I do think in November of 2019, a lot of people will be thinking about, ‘Okay, there was a special session in July on an issue of great importance.  Who acted?  Who voted which way?  Who was willing to take steps to keep us safer, and who wasn’t?’  And in 2020 I think it will be a large issue too,”  Kaine admitted,