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Response to LexVegas (Reply #25)

Tue Mar 29, 2016, 03:17 PM

27. The ones he's voted to ban for decades? You're not very good at this:

Sanders voted against the pro-gun-control Brady Bill, writing that he believes states, not the federal government, can handle waiting periods for handguns. In 1994, he voted yes on an assault weapons ban. He has voted to ban some lawsuits against gun manufacturers and for the Manchin-Toomey legislation expanding federal background checks.


Bernie Sanders’ critics misfire: The Vermont senator’s gun record is better than it looks

....However, the Nation and the other reports like it don’t shed real light on where Sanders is coming from. They don’t explain why he supports some gun controls but not others. Nor do they ask if there’s a consistency to Sanders’ positions and votes over the years? They simply suggest that Bernie’s position is muddled and makes a good target for Hillary.

Yet there is an explanation. It’s consistent and simpler than many pundits think. And it’s in Bernie’s own words dating back to the campaign where he was first elected to the U.S. House—in 1990—where he was endorsed by the NRA, even after Sanders told them that he would ban assault rifles. That year, Bernie faced Republican incumbent Peter Smith, who beat him by less than 4 percentage points in a three-way race two years before.

In that 1988 race, Bernie told Vermont sportsmen that he backed an assault weapons ban. Smith told the same sportsmen’s groups that he opposed it, but midway through his first term he changed his mind and co-sponsored an assault rifle ban—even bringing an AK-47 to his press conference. That about-face was seen as a betrayal and is the background to a June 1990 debate sponsored by the Vermont Federation of Sportsmen’s Clubs.

I was at that debate with Smith and three other candidates—as the Sanders’ campaign press secretary—and recorded it. Bernie spoke at length three times and much of what he said is relevant today, and anticipates his congressional record on gun control ever since. Look at how Bernie describes what being a sportsperson is in a rural state, where he is quick to draw the line with weapons that threaten police and have no legitimate use in hunting—he previously was mayor of Vermont’s biggest city, and his record of being very clear with the gun lobby and rural people about where he stands. His approach, despite the Nation’s characterization, isn’t “open-minded.”

As you can see, Bernie—who moved to rural northeastern Vermont in the late 1960s—has an appreciation and feeling for where hunting and fishing fit into the lives of lower income rural people. He’s not a hunter or a fisherman. When he grew up in Brooklyn, he was a nerdy jock—being captivated by ideas and a high school miler who hoped for a track scholarship for college. But like many people who settled in Vermont for generations, he was drawn to its freer and greener pastures and respected its local culture.

“I went before the sportsmen of Vermont and said that I have concerns about certain types of assault weapons that have nothing to do with hunting. I believe in hunting. I will not support any legislation that limits the rights of Vermonters or any other hunters to practice what they have enjoyed for decades. I do have concerns about certain types of assault weapons.”

That was not the end of his remarks. But it is worth noting that his separating the rights of traditional hunters from the concerns of police chiefs has been a constant thread in many subsequent votes he would take in Congress. It’s also noteworthy that Bernie consistently has opposed assault weapons from the late 1980s—before he was in Congress—which he reiterated to the moderator.


Sanders Votes for Background Checks, Assault Weapons Ban

WASHINGTON, April 17 – Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) today voted for expanded background checks on gun buyers and for a ban on assault weapons but the Senate rejected those central planks of legislation inspired by the shootings of 20 first-grade students and six teachers in Newtown, Conn.

“Nobody believes that gun control by itself is going to end the horrors we have seen in Newtown, Conn., Aurora, Colo., Blacksburg, Va., Tucson, Ariz. and other American communities,” Sanders said. “There is a growing consensus, however, in Vermont and across America that we have got to do as much as we can to end the cold-blooded, mass murders of innocent people. I believe very strongly that we also have got to address the mental health crisis in our country and make certain that help is available for people who may be a danger to themselves and others,” Sanders added.

The amendment on expanded background checks needed 60 votes to pass but only 54 senators voted for it. “To my mind it makes common sense to keep these weapons out of the hands of people with criminal records or mental health histories,” Sanders said.

Under current federal law, background checks are not performed for tens of thousands of sales – up to 40 percent of all gun transfers – at gun shows or over the Internet. The amendment would have required background checks for all gun sales in commercial settings regardless of whether the seller is a licensed dealer. The compromise proposal would have exempted sales between “family, friends, and neighbors.”

In a separate roll call, the Senate rejected a proposal to ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines. That proposal was defeated by a vote of 60 to 40.


Bernie Sanders voted for the 1994 crime bill because it included the Violence against Women Act and assault weapons ban:

In 1994, however, Sanders voted in favor of the final version of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act, a bill that expanded the federal death penalty. Sanders had voted for an amendment to the bill that would have replaced all federal death sentences with life in prison. Even though the amendment failed, Sanders still voted for the larger crime bill.

A spokesman for Sanders said he voted for the bill "because it included the Violence Against Women Act and the ban on certain assault weapons."

Sanders reiterated his opposition to capital punishment in 2015. "I just don’t think the state itself, whether it’s the state government or federal government, should be in the business of killing people," he said on a radio show.


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LineLineLineLineReply The ones he's voted to ban for decades? You're not very good at this:
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