Bernie Sanders Clarifies His Stance On Gun Control

Bernie Sanders, the Senator from Vermont who’s running for the Democratic presidential nomination has recently clarified his position on the issue of gun control. Sanders, a self-proclaimed socialist, has historically been to the right of many Democrats when it comes to gun control. His only rival, Hillary Clinton, is much more aggressive when it comes to gun law reform.

With the first Democratic presidential debate coming up this Wednesday, Senator Sanders talked about gun control on NBC’s Meet the Press on Sunday. Hoping to ease any concerns of his supporters, he said that there are things that can and should be done to prevent gun violence.

In particular, Bernie said that gun manufactures should be held responsible when their guns are sold in too great of a volume in an area that doesn’t require so many guns. Sanders may have been referring to the widespread violence involving guns in Chicago, where it’s difficult to obtain a firearm. If someone living in Chicago wanted a gun, they could go to a city outside of Chicago to purchase their gun.

“Where there is a problem, is there is evidence that manufacturers, gun manufacturers, do know that they’re selling a whole lot of guns in an area that really should not be buying that many guns, that many of those guns are going to other areas, probably for criminal purposes?”

He went on to say that we should talk about holding gun manufacturers liable. In the past, Sanders has opposed gun manufacture liability.

“So, can we take another look at that liability issue? Yes.”

The recent Oregon Community College shooting that left 10 dead and many wounded has reignited the debate over gun control. Candidates on both sides have made their positions clear following the latest tragedy. Republican candidates like Donald Trump and others suggests more guns could prevent some mass shootings from happening.

UCC shooting spurs gun control debate [Photo by Scott Olson / Getty Images]This very Republican idea presumes that if citizens are able to carry concealed weapons, they can stop mass shootings or at least save some lives. A point that Republicans often make is that almost all mass shootings have taken place in gun-free zones, where concealed carry permit holders are barred from carrying their weapons.

In the wake of the UCC shooting, Bernie Sanders has taken a more traditional Democrat position. He is now calling for semi-automatic so-called “assault weapons” to be banned. Mr. Sanders said that the assault weapons have no other purpose but to kill people. As The Guardian reported, Sanders has called for talks on how to better deal with gun violence.

“What I did say is that we even keep shouting at each other, which is what’s been going on here for 20 years. Ain’t going nowhere. And kids on campuses and children in schools are being slaughtered. What I think there needs to be is a dialogue.”

When politicians say assault weapon, they’re most often referring to a weapon like an AR-15. The AR-15 is a civilian version of the M16 which was developed for the military. While the AR-15 may not look like a hunting weapon, it is used by many hunters throughout the country. When dealing with animals that are fast and typically far away from the hunter — like a coyote — the AR-15 can come in handy. It allows the hunter to make an accurate shot and to make quick follow up shots.

Sanders in support of assault weapons ban [Photo by Warren Little / Getty Images]As a Senator and member of the House, Sanders’ voting record on gun control issues has been mixed. The Wall Street Journal pointed out that in 1993, Sanders voted against the Brady Bill which implemented mandatory background checks. In 2005, Bernie voted for a law that kept victims of gun violence from suing gun manufacturers. In 2013 the Senator voted for the proposed ban on high-capacity magazines and assault weapons. The 2013 measure would have also expanded the national background check system.

Regardless of his past voting history, Sanders is now aligning much closer to the typical liberal Democrat when it comes to guns.

[Photo by Darren McCollester / Getty Images]