Democrats Empowered After Gun Control Moves to Debate

Sixteen Senate Republicans joined Democrats yesterday to move the gun control legislation forward to begin debate on the final package. The bill will include wider background checks and harsher punishments for trafficking guns. The final tally, which required a 60 vote threshold, was 68 – 31.

“I want [the bill] as comprehensive as can be. I know that one proposal is to deal with gun shows and online sales. That would be very helpful,” Senator Tim Kaine (D – VA) told reporters. “It might not be everything but it would be very helpful," he added.

Kaine, a former DNC chair, restricted gun rights during his tenure as governor of Virginia. In 2009 he vetoed a bill (SB1035) that would have allowed retired law enforcement officers to carry concealed firearms into restaurants that serve alcohol along with food, as long as they did not consume alcohol. However, Kaine did allow Commonwealth attorneys to carry conceal firearms into restaurants that serve alcohol that they could consume.

Along with being “strongly pro-background checks,” Kaine told reporters he plans on voting for a limitation on high capacity gun magazine to no more than ten rounds.

“Then there will also be a limitation on certain designated assault combat weapons. I’m going to vote for that limitation too. Ever since I came to the Senate, this has been the item that has been the subject of more communication in my office than any other, he said, adding  “Virginians care about the second amendment but Virginians also understand that the first amendment doesn’t give a blanket protection to child pornographers and slander. It is not a blanket anything goes rule.”

Questions remain as to whether the legislation will prevent another deadly Sandy Hook School shooting, to which House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D - CA) told reporters on Thursday, “I think if you just want to focus on one thing, initiatives for school safety might have protected those children a lot better.” 


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