In the Democratic race, gun control was always Bernie Sanders’ greatest weakness. After all he was in Vermont politics, a state that he is fond of pointing out is rural and lacks the rabid anti-gun culture of New York City. And he had benefited from NRA interference targeting a pro-gun control Republican. And so Hillary kept hitting that easy target.
Despite the claims of authenticity, Bernie Sanders has tossed aside just as many positions as Hillary Clinton. He’s been “evolving” slowly on gun control. But one of his last holdout positions was on suing gun manufacturers. He held to it as recently as his disastrous Daily News interview.
Daily News: There’s a case currently waiting to be ruled on in Connecticut. The victims of the Sandy Hook massacre are looking to have the right to sue for damages the manufacturers of the weapons. Do you think that that is something that should be expanded?
Sanders: Do I think the victims of a crime with a gun should be able to sue the manufacturer, is that your question?
Daily News: Correct.
Sanders: No, I don’t.
And then at the Democratic debate, after Team Clinton got some of the ‘suers’ to attack him over his position, Sanders unveiled a brand new position.
Blitzer said to Sanders, “The daughter of the Sandy Hook elementary school principal who was killed back in the 2012 mass shooting says you owe her and the other victims’ families an apology. Do you?”
The Brooklyn debate audience booed Sanders as he initially avoided the question.
Pressed again by Blitzer, the Vermont senator said, “No, I don’t think I owe them an apology. They are in court today, and actually they won a preliminary decision today. They have a right to sue, and I support them.”
Various excuses are being made, but (for once) his response showed that he was following the issue. And he’s quite clearly endorsing lawsuits against gun manufacturers.
In the debate, Sanders claimed that he was protecting small business gun shop owners, but he clearly told the Daily News that he opposes lawsuits against manufacturers. And he has in fact opposed them. Correctly. Because suing manufacturers makes even less sense than suing gun shop owners. At the debate, Sanders suggested that he supports the former, but not the latter. That’s nonsense. The whole legal argument is that manufacturers supply dealers with too many guns. And that the dealers then sell the guns to criminals. If you accept the reasoning, as Sanders appears to, then immunizing the dealers and not the manufacturers makes no actual sense. And the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, which Sanders voted for, is at stake in the lawsuit.
So Bernie Sanders is now backhandedly disavowing his own vote on the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act.
But as a practical matter, Bernie Sanders has been wriggling over the subject for a while now.
Q: For a decade, you said that holding gun manufacturers legally responsible for mass shootings is a bad idea. Do you want to shield gun companies from lawsuits?
SANDERS: Of course not. This was a large and complicated bill. There were provisions in it that I think made sense. For example, do I think that a gun shop in the state of Vermont that sells legally a gun to somebody, and that somebody goes out and does something crazy, that that gun shop owner should be held responsible? I don’t. On the other hand, where you have manufacturers and where you have gun shops knowingly giving guns to criminals or aiding and abetting that, of course we should take action.
That was last year. So effectively Sanders had already endorsed the lawsuit. Though in an ambiguous enough way. But then this year at the Daily News interview he was against it.
But this is a common problem with Bernie Sanders whose shouting and table pounding conceals the fact that his positions are incoherent gibberish on everything except Wall Street. And he can’t coherently state a practical policy on that either.
Bernie Sanders is a dishonest flip-flopper. But that’s just politics. He’s just as inauthentic as Hillary Clinton.
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