Romper

What Are Tim Kaine's Second Amendment Views? He Has Personal Connections To The Issue

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images News/Getty Images

The presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, named Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine as her choice for vice president on Friday night. Kaine brings with him nearly two decades of experience in politics, starting as the mayor of Richmond, Virginia in 1998 to becoming his state's governor for four years before becoming a U.S. senator in 2013. In the wake of the nightclub shootings in Orlando, Florida and Dallas, Texas in the past few weeks, the issue of gun safety has become a top priority for many Americans. So, what are Tim Kaine's Second Amendment views? His time as the governor of Virginia has profoundly affected both his stance and resulting policy actions — largely due to the Virginia Tech school shooting that occurred in April 2007.

Just three days after 32 people were shot and killed — including both students and professors — at Virginia Technical University in Blacksburg, Virginia, Kaine formed an eight-member independent panel to examine both the police and school's response to, as well as the factors leading up to what was at the time the deadliest mass shooting in American history. The panel issued a scathing report with over 70 recommendations on ways the shooting could have been prevented.

MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images
US President George W. Bush (2L) stands with US First Lady Laura Bush (L), Virginia First Lady Anne Holton (2R) and Virginia Governor Timothy M. Kaine (R) before a makeshift memorial on the campus of Virginia Tech University 17 April 2007 for victims of a shooting massacre at the facility in Blacksburg, Virginia. Bush assured thousands of mourners for the victims of the deadliest school shooting in US history that he and the entire United States grieved with them. AFP PHOTO/Mandel NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)

Just two weeks after the shooting, Kaine signed an executive order to close massive gaps that existed between federal and state gun laws, motivating congress to act as well. Congress passed the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) Improvement Amendments Act of 2007. Signed by President George W. Bush in 2008, the bill mandated more accurate record-keeping and reporting to the NICS from states so that guns could not be sold to people with a history of domestic violence or who have been declared mentally ill.

After the Virginia Tech shooting, as senator, Kaine has voted consistently on common sense gun reform legislation. Kaine has a 100-percent rating from the Brady Campaign — and an "F" grade from the National Rifle Association.

In June, Kaine was one of more than three dozen members of congress who participated in a 15-hour Senate filibuster on gun control in the wake of the Orlando nightclub shooting. Kaine held the floor for nearly a half hour, urging the government to act now on gun reform in a powerfully moving speech. Kaine recalled the day of the Virginia Tech shooting as "the worst day of my life, and it will always be the worst day of my life." He continued:

Kaine's entire filibuster speech is definitely worth the watch:

What makes Kaine such a refreshing choice for Clinton's VP pick is that he's not a hardline, far-left liberal on the issue of Second Amendment rights: He's a gun owner who gets the need for gun safety reform, even in a state like Virginia where the NRA has their headquarters. On Kaine's official Senate website, he shares his views on gun safety:

It's a nice change of pace to hear a responsible gun owner so outspoken for gun violence prevention as one like Kaine, who has the political and personal experience to back up his Second Amendment stance.