As the Battle for New York is well underway, there is a spotlight once again on guns. While both have low ratings from the NRA, Secretary Clinton has highlighted aspects of Senator Sanders’ record that seem to suggest he is not very strong on this issue.
Secretary Clinton pointed out Senator Sanders voted against the Brady Bill five times. She has also stressed the Senator’s vote for the 2005 Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act and has recently characterized such vote as being akin to standing against families of gun violence. As of late, Secretary Clinton has given speeches portraying Vermont as a major supplier of guns to New York state.
Senator Sanders highlights his support for an assault weapons ban and has a D- rating with the NRA. He has characterized his voting record as representing the interest of the people he represents in Vermont. Senator Sanders has expressed support for an instant background check system as well as closing the gun-show loophole. He also and making “straw man” purchases a federal crime. He supports a ban on semi-automatic weapons that are designed solely for killing a lot of people. The Senator has the need to fix the broken mental health system.
In the Brooklyn debate, Secretary Clinton was asked if she was trying to blame Vermont and indirectly Senator Sanders for guns in New York State. She said she was trying to highlight that guns in New York primarily come from out of state. Concerning the issue of gun manufacturer immunity, Secretary Clinton pointed to Senator Sanders’ vote for the 2005 law. She further asserted that he did not stand with families like those in Sandy Hook who are suing the gun manufacturer Remington and two gun sellers. Secretary Clinton stated that guns like the AR-15 were targeted to young people, and manufacturers should be held accountable.
Senator Sanders raised an issue with Secretary Clinton’s claim that she was only showing that guns came from other states when she mentioned Vermont. Senator Sanders did not waiver from his position regarding immunity. He stated that if a weapon was sold and later used in a crime, the seller or manufacturer should not be held liable. He explained that were there reason to know that someone was possibly up to something nefarious, the seller or manufacturer could be held accountable in that case. He has expressed concern for small shop owners who could later be held responsible for the illegal acts of others. Senator Sanders remarked that the Sandy Hook lawsuit survived a motion to dismiss. He said he supported the right of the families to move ahead with their lawsuit.
With the New York Primary only four days away, it is important that we continue to be clear on the candidates’ positions. There are a lot of issues being discussed and figures thrown around. We need to understand what they do and do not mean. Bottom line we need clear solutions moving forward to overcome the partisan rift on meaningful gun reform.