In response to the fatal Virginia shooting of two reporters, U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine has introduced the “Responsible Transfer of Firearms Act” to crack down on the selling of guns to criminals.
Kaine’s proposal would hold commercial and private firearms dealers criminally responsible for a bad sale if they couldn’t prove they took “reasonable steps” to ensure the buyer was not a prohibited person.
“As recent tragedies in Virginia and across the country have shown, the gun laws in our country have done little to stem senseless gun violence,” said Kaine. “These numbing incidents in urban, rural and suburban communities are made worse by the lack of accountability in those instances where the tragedy might have been prevented.”
However, Kaine goes on to add that his bill may not have stopped the Virginia shooting, but assured it will still make the country a safer place.
“We’ll never be able to eliminate all acts of violence,” said Kaine. “This particular statute would not necessarily have caught… the perpetrator of these horrible crimes, but we can do better. We can make our commonwealth and our country safer and that’s what this act is about.”
Although there are already statues in place to require firearms dealers to conduct background checks on potential buyers, Kaine’s bill would now make their “negligence” a crime.
“It would hold a seller or transferor of firearms criminally liable should they fail to demonstrate they took reasonable steps to prevent a weapon from falling into prohibited hands,” said Kaine. “Why should someone be able to casually place an illegal firearm in the hands of a felon?”
It’s unclear who Kaine is referring to, but typically firearms dealers aren’t in the practice of handing over guns to known felons.
“Ultimately, efforts to reduce gun violence must focus on multiple solutions,” said Kaine. “But this act is a step in the right direction.”
(This article was a submission by freelance writer Brent Rogers)