Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA) debunked the overblown media myth that the National Rifle Association (NRA) has the outsized influence to punish politicians who support gun safety measures, saying that even though the NRA “spend[s] millions of dollars and campaign[s] against me ... I've never lost a race.” Though media often blame support for gun safety for electoral losses by progressive candidates, there is no evidence to support the claim. From the June 15 edition of MSNBC's Morning Joe:
MIKE BARNICLE: Senator, we get tired of asking, and I'm sure you get tired of answering, and you just alluded to it in that last answer -- that you can be prohibited from flying on an airplane in the United States of America because you're on a terrorist watch list. But don't worry, go next door and buy yourself an AR-15.
TIM KAINE: Right
BARNICLE: This is truly, deeply depressing as well as a horrific indictment of, again, what you just referred to, the lack of backbone in the United States Senate.
KAINE: Mike, this is all about lack of backbone. I live in the state where the NRA has its headquarters. And every time I run they give me an F and they spend millions of dollars and they campaign against me. I've never lost a race. I could lose the next one. But if they were that strong, I would have lost one already. You've got to stand up and say the Second Amendment is like the First Amendment. You guys are big believers in the First Amendment. You're journalists. But you can't just casually libel and slander people without there being a consequence. Every right in the Constitution is subject to some reasonable rules and regulation. Most of gun owners in this country, most NRA members support background record checks, and so we need to do that so we can keep guns out of the hands of people who are going to use them to produce carnage either on others or on themselves.