PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — Senator Tim Kaine says meaningful legislation is possible regarding gun regulation, Virginians will see prices rise on everyday items if tariffs are put in place, and offshore drilling will hurt, not help, the local economy.
Kaine says the aftermath of the mass shooting two weeks ago at Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida seems different compared with other similar incidents. He says the outspoken survivors are inspiring their peers here in Virginia.
“It’s the energetic advocacy of these high school kids, which are being picked up by youngsters all across the state.”
Just this week Kaine says he’s been talking about gun regulation with teens in Richmond, Fairfax and Friday in Hampton.
“They’re asking us a really tough question — who’s more important, us, or contributions from the NRA, and when they pose it like that it makes you look in the mirror.”
Kaine says as a gun owner he supports the second amendment, and he’s also encouraged by some surprising words from President Trump.
“He looked members of Congress in the eye and he said don’t be afraid of the NRA, and he expressed support for background record checks. Now if he will keep saying that he can help us get there.”
Kaine says he supports a ban on assault style rifles similar to those used at the Florida high school, Las Vegas, and other mass shootings. But he doesn’t expect that to happen, and says universal background checks are more likely.
Kaine says the tariffs President Trump says he wants to put on imported steel and aluminum will likely lead to a trade war where no one will win. The president said Thursday he wants to put a 25 percent tariff on imported steel, 10 percent on imported aluminum as a means of closing an $800 billion trade deficit .
Kaine says workers and companies in the U.S. who make steel and aluminum will benefit, but the tariffs will hurt many more, including local shipbuilding. Kaine says common items like refrigerators and shaving cream could end up costing more.
“The US government is going to have to pay a whole lot more to get a carrier or sub,” Kaine said. “Consumers are going to have to pay more every time they get a car or buy an item at a hardware store.”
Economists say tariffs here will force other countries to slap tariffs on American made goods in what’s known as a trade war.
“You only win in a trade war if you assume the other side doesn’t take any action in response and that’s never the case.”
Kaine also renewed his opposition to oil drilling off of Virginia’s coast, after President Trump said he wanted to open up the entire Atlantic Seaboard to oil exploration. Kaine pointed to an exemption granted to Florida.
The senator says the Hampton Roads economy is built on three main pillars – tourism, military spending and aquaculture,and offshore drilling is not compatible with any of them.
“You don’t want to jeopardize your existing economic pillars for a speculative one,” Kaine said.