In the wake of the Florida school shooting, the media is lining up the usual suspects and grilling them as to where they stand on new gun control laws. Yesterday it was Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders’ turn when he talked to Chuck Todd on Meet the Press. Unfortunately for Sanders, Chuck had the audacity to remind him of some of his (on the record) comments after the Sandy Hook shooting, when Bernie was not running for President and had a bit more sensible approach to the subject. At the time, as Chuck reminded him, he was quoted as saying, “If you passed the strongest gun control legislation tomorrow, I don’t think it will have a profound effect on the tragedies we have seen.”
Having his previous comments quoted back to him didn’t go over very well with Sanders at all. He basically cut off Chuck Todd in mid-question and began haranguing him about his gun grabbing bona fides. The video below is less than two minutes long but packed with action the whole way through. (Washington Free Beacon)
“Senator, you ended up voting for some of those reforms, gun control measures that you weren’t 100 percent sure would solve all the problems,” Todd said. “Where are you today? Do you think now—”
“Hey, Chuck, Chuck, let’s be very clear!” Sanders said. “Hey, Chuck, let’s be very clear. I have a D-minus voting record from the NRA. I lost an election probably for Congress here in Vermont back in 1988, because I believed that we should not be selling or distributing assault weapons in this country. I am on record and have been for a very long time in saying we have got to significantly tighten up the background checks.”
Sanders went on a bit more from there, going so far as to dredge up the long discredited but highly popular Democratic claim that “40% of guns are sold without a background check.” It’s amazing to me that we’re still hearing that one today, particularly considering that even Politifact rated it as flatly false last year. (The actual number is estimated to be as low as 14% and that includes sales and transfers between family members.)
Perhaps Bernie actually is considering a 2020 run. Or he could just be trying to protect his legacy and image among the Democratic Socialist base. Maybe he’s just been saying these things since the 2016 primary and he’s stuck in a loop. Who knows? But he clearly doesn’t like talking about it or being reminded of the past.
That’s kind of a shame in a way. Sanders is from Vermont, one of the most Second Amendment loving and freedom embracing places in the nation. While he never veered too far from his socialist roots, Bernie Sanders used to be at least a bit more realistic in his expectations and honest about gun issues. Now he’s in the business of trying to swing to the left of everyone else in the progressive movement. And he’s clearly willing to shout down an interviewer to do so.