On September 10, the Washington Post reported on Sen. Tim Kaine’s attempt to use the August 26 Virginia shootings as grounds for regulating private gun sales and claimed that this push is being opposed by those who want to “cash in” on tragedy.
WaPo did not mention that Kaine is using tragedy—the murders of a Virginia reporter and cameraman—to push a gun control measure that would not have prevented the murder of the reporter or cameraman, but they did mention that Kaine also tried to use the 2007 Virginia Tech shooting to pass more gun control, and he failed.
According to WaPo, Kaine wants “to require stricter background checks on people who buy guns.” This is both a misstatement and an understatement. It is an misstatement because Kaine is not looking for stricter checks per se, but for a way to hold retail gun sellers liable if a person who passes a background check then goes on to commit a heinous crime—like the crime Vester Lee Flanagan committed in killing the WDBJ reporter and cameraman after passing a background check for his gun. And Wapo‘s description of Kaine’s gun control push is an understatement because it fails to point out that the Senator wants to extend this same extra-level of liability to individuals who sell guns privately too.
In other words, Kaine wants to the use the example of someone passing a background check and thereafter committing a crime as justification for shackling Federal Firearm License (FFL) holders and private gun sellers with a level of unprecedented government oversight.
But WaPo does not think Kaine can succeed because of pushback from the “gun lobby” that likes to “cash in on… tragedy.” They specifically cite the Virginia Citizens Defense League, suggesting the gun rights group would rather turn a blind eye to how people like alleged Chattanooga gunman Mohammed Youseff Abdulazeez get a gun than support new laws to prevent it.
On July 17, Breitbart News reported FBI confirmation that Abdulazeez bought at least “some” of his guns via a background check. We also explained that persons who can pass background checks can also legally buy guns apart from background checks. Senator Kaine’s gun control push would have made no difference in Chattanooga either.
Follow AWR Hawkins on Twitter: @AWRHawkins. Reach him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.