Clinton’s Attacks Against Sanders’ Sandy Hook Remarks Fall Flat

On Wednesday, Hillary Clinton attacked Bernie Sanders for his views on gun control. In a video that has now been criticized as using the victims of Sandy Hook as props for her campaign, Clinton implied that Sanders played a role in Adam Lanza’s rampage at Sandy Hook Elementary School that took the lives of 20 children and six adults.

The tweet that accompanied the video managed to unite both sides with their mutual disappointment with the not-so-subtle accusation that Bernie Sanders is somehow responsible for Sandy Hook.

“@BernieSanders prioritized gun manufacturers’ rights over the parents of the children killed at Sandy Hook.”

Clinton’s attack was made in response to Bernie Sanders’ interview with the New York Daily News editorial board in which he said that gun manufacturers should not be sued for legally selling firearms. He clarified his position by stating that victims of gun violence should be able to sue vendors who sell firearms either illegally or under questionable circumstances. The paper then published a harsh story critical of Sanders’ position, calling it his “Sandy Hook Shame.”

The paper is owned by Mort Zuckerman, who has donated between $50,000 and $100,000 to the Clinton Foundation, so the editorial board’s line of attack against Sanders is likely politically motivated to make Hillary’s rival look as bad as possible.

But the public isn’t buying it. Social media users have called out Clinton and the NYDN for their attacks against Bernie Sanders, saying Hillary is using the Sandy Hook victims and their families as props for her campaign. Even worse, her opinions seem to change with the wind.

In 2008, when Clinton was running against then-Senator Barack Obama in the Democratic primaries, she held similar views on gun control that Bernie Sanders has held for years. Two years before Nancy Lanza purchased the guns that her son, Adam, eventually used to mercilessly kill 26 innocent people, Hillary Clinton declared that gun ownership was a constitutional right and regulation should be left to the states.

“What might work in New York City is certainly not going to work in Montana. So, for the federal government to be having any kind of blanket rules that they’re going to try to impose, I think doesn’t make sense.”

During the same interview with the NYDN editorial board, Sanders did say he would vote to ban assault weapons in the United States. When critics, including family members of Sandy Hook victims, called on Sanders to apologize, he did not. Nancy Cordes of CBS News asked Sanders if he would apologize to the Sandy Hook victims. Instead, he suggested that Hillary has blood on her hands from her Iraq War vote.

Sanders has yet to highlight Clinton’s ties to the gun lobby, either. In March, Hillary attended a fundraiser hosted by a lobbyist for the National Rifle Association. Clinton’s campaign manager, John Podesta, was the co-host.

According to David Sirota of the International Business Times, the NRA lobbyist who co-hosted her fundraiser is Jeff Forbes, of the Cauthen Forbes & Williams lobbying firm. Reports are conflicting as to whether he is still a pro-gun lobbyist. However, as of 2015, the NRA was listed as a client. According to the official lobbying report, Forbes’ company lobbies on behalf of the NRA on “issues related to 2nd Amendment rights, regulation and gun control,” as well as corporate tax reform as related to gun regulation.

Under Clinton, the State Department approved $165 billion in arms sales to 20 nations that had donated to the foundation. Many of those countries have deplorable human rights records. Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Algeria, and the United Arab Emirates all donated to the Clinton Foundation. All of them received favorable weapons deals.

Because actions speak louder than words, Hillary Clinton’s actions indicate that she really isn’t as strong an advocate for gun control as she makes herself out to be. Her scathing accusations that Bernie Sanders is weak on the issue and that he is implicitly responsible for the tragedy at Sandy Hook ring hollow. As some folks have suggested, perhaps it is she, not Sanders, who ought to apologize for gun violence.

[Photo by Jessica Kourkounis/Getty Images]

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