Democratic vice-presidential nominee Sen. Tim Kaine (Va.) said Thursday the National Rifle Association is an illegitimate representative for American gun owners and goaded the Virginia-based organization for being unable to unseat him.

"You can support the Second Amendment, that's fine, but we ought to be able to  have reasonable rules to keep people safe in this country," Kaine told an enthusiastic audience at the Progressive National Baptist Convention.

Congress is too cowed by the gun lobby group, Kaine said, and by siding with the NRA against gun-control laws is siding against "a majority of Americans, a majority of gun owners, a majority of NRA members," who support certain gun-control measures opposed by the NRA.

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"The NRA, I know these guys, because they're headquartered in Virginia, and when I run, they run against me, every time," Kaine said. "And I'm 8-0 in races -- they've never beaten me. Now, I could lose the next one, but if they were that strong, I would have lost one before now."

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Kaine has not lost an election as he rose from city office in Richmond to the governor's mansion and Congress.

In his address to the majority-black gathering in New Orleans, Kaine did not mention Republican nominee Donald Trump's reference to the power that "Second Amendment people" might have to act to prevent Democrat Hillary Clinton from becoming president. The remark this week was widely interpreted as an invitation to gun violence, although Trump  has said he was not inciting violence of any kind.

"What happens is the NRA goes to Congress and they say, you know, 'you've got to stick with us,' " Kaine said. "The NRA doesn't even speak for members anymore. They're just a shill for gun manufacturers," Kaine said. "And gun manufacturers have one goal: Sell as many, whenever, wherever, to whomever. That's their only goal."

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