Democrat presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton accused Bernie Sanders of not being serious about gun control.
On January 12, Clinton said Sanders’ “denunciations of big-money special interests [are] undercut by his 2005 congressional vote for a bill granting legal immunity for gun manufacturers.” Clinton wants to change U.S law to allow crime victims to sue gun manufacturers and gun sellers. Sanders opposed such suits by voting for the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act in 2005.
According to The New York Times, as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives in 1994, Sanders voted for an “assault weapons” ban. But he voted against the Brady Bill in 1993. The Brady Bill birthed the background check system for retail sales and initially put a five-day waiting period in place for new handgun purchases.
Clinton is seizing on Sanders’ refusal to immediately support every gun control bill and suggesting such an approach proves he is too close to the gun lobby. She said Sanders’ claims about standing up to corporate interests are muted by the fact that some of his votes favored the gun industry.
Clinton stated, “Don’t talk to me about standing up to corporate interests and big powers. I have the scars to show for it. And I’m proud of every single one of them.”
To be fair, Clinton overlooked the fact that being a representative required Sanders to be more careful about bills he supported than he might have been were he a senator in 1993 and 1994. As a representative, his constituent base was much smaller and much more ideologically united in the pro-gun state of Vermont.
As a New York senator, Clinton could ignore the pro-gun sentiments of constituents in rural parts of the state and trust that residents of New York City would continue to support her.
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