Labeling Bernie Sanders as pro-gun or pro-NRA has been the biggest smear job of the Democratic Campaign
Hillary Clinton has not been honest when it comes to Bernie Sanders’ position on guns. In fact, it’s quite ironic that Hillary and her supporters claim Bernie has been smearing her record, when in fact it is the Hillary team pulling one of the biggest smears in this primary. They have been trying to cast Bernie as this rabidly pro-gun NRA politician that he is not.
Hillary’s smear against Bernie, that somehow he is extremely pro-gun in comparison to Hillary, is a complicated issue, but it is a complete distortion to say that Bernie is “pro-gun” or that somehow he is a shill for the NRA. Bernie’s record on guns is not exactly favorable with gun nuts, as the record shows.
Bernie receives a D- rating from the NRA, and if I’m not mistaken, that would mean the NRA is not all that loving of Bernie’s positions on guns. Bernie has not been rabidly pro-gun during his career. Granted Bernie hasn’t devoted much of his career to the gun issue, more or less because he was more focused on money in politics and social justice, but he certainly hasn’t been actively advancing pro-NRA policies.
There are a couple of areas where the Hillary camp has tried to cast doubt on Bernie’s gun record. The first is a vote that Bernie made against a bill that would have allowed victims of gun violence and their families to sue gun manufacturers for damages in cases where their guns are used in such criminal instances. Yes, Bernie voted against the bill, but this isn’t the whole story.
Bernie voted against a bill because the bill would have allowed victims to sue gun sellers if their guns were used in criminal action, even if the person who used the gun passed a background check and the sale was completely legal. Essentially it would allow people to sue gun shops for selling a legal product, which even if the gun was used criminally the sale itself was completely legal. This opens a floodgate of loopholes, which Bernie is against. You shouldn’t be able to sue someone for selling a legal product even if the product was used criminally. Unless you can prove the product was sold illegally and with a directly malicious purpose, it seems wrong to sue someone for selling a legal product that went through the proper channels.
Bernie’s real position, though, is that you should sue gun manufacturers and sellers if they purposefully sell guns without proper legal channels. Bernie has even said he believes we should ban assault rifles and high capacity magazines. Bernie doesn’t believe you should sue gun makers and sellers for selling a legal product, yet he wants to make those weapons illegal in the first place. To say that is a pro-NRA is absolutely ludicrous.
This is important, because Hillary has been using Bernie’s vote to make the case that he doesn’t care about the children and families who were victimized in Newtown. And Hillary supporters want to talk about smears? That is by far the worst smear I’ve heard on the Democratic side in this primary. To say Bernie doesn’t care about the kids in Newtown is deplorable, and blatantly untrue. The worst part is, Hillary knows it’s not true, which makes it all that worse. Desperate times call for desperate measures I suppose.
Another aspect of this smear is somehow Bernie is indirectly responsible for the gun violence in New York. Of course New York’s primary comes up next Tuesday, so the heat is on. Yet, it is blatantly untrue that Bernie is somehow connected to the gun violence in New York. The Hillary logic is that Vermont, Bernie’s home state, has more guns per capita in the Northeast and that much of those guns are trafficked into New York where they are used in violent crimes. Yes, it is true New York does have much of its gun violence associated with guns trafficked from out of state due to strict gun laws.
Very few of those guns originated from Vermont, however. In fact most of the guns illegally trafficked into New York came from states like Georgia, Virginia, Florida, and Pennsylvania. Those are states with more lax gun laws, and three out of four of those states voted for Hillary during the primary season. Vermont is the smallest on the list when it comes to guns trafficked into New York.
It is a blatant lie that Bernie is quasi-responsible for gun violence in New York. This is a classic smear if ever there were one. It’s ironic too, because Hillary doesn’t have the best record ever when it comes to guns. In fact, she has her gray areas too.
Hillary, while making her stance on guns a focal point of her contrast with Bernie, actually has an NRA lobbyist raising money for her. Anyone remember 2008? Anyone remember that Hillary actually ran in the primary against Obama on a more pro-gun record because Obama made the “guns and religion” remark? This is all true, which isn’t necessarily a squeaky clean record on guns.
It’s absurd to say that Bernie has been pro-gun or pro-NRA, when his record has little to show for that. He voted his conscience on one bill that in no way signaled a pro-NRA stance. In no way am I saying Hillary is pro-NRA, but it is blatantly false to insinuate that Bernie is as well.