Alternate headline: Improbably ascendant anti-establishment socialist endangers cred with liberal base by sounding sane on guns.

On Sunday, Bernie Sanders appeared on “Face the Nation” with Jake Tapper. Jazz wrote up some of that interview, here—notably, how Bernie is fashioning himself as the outsider against the most entrenched insider ever to entrench.

In keeping with his authentic, outsider pitch, Sanders aligns with his home state’s against-all-odds still rather libertarian gun views instead of the more extreme elements of the liberal gun control crowd. This has earned Sanders the ire of none other than Slate in the past and the equal and opposite admiration of Reason.

On “Face the Nation,” Sanders answered a question about his support for a law that limits the ability of citizens to sue gun manufacturers over crimes committed with guns. Though his record on guns is far from NRA grade-A material, Sanders’ refusal to back off of this even while he’s running as the liberal savior is the kind of thing that makes me respect the man:

On Sunday, CNN’s Jake Tapper pressed Vermont senator and Democratic president candidate Bernie Sanders on his support for the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, or PLCAA. As a senator, Sanders voted for the law, which shields gun and ammunition manufacturers, distributors, and dealers from liability when their products are used criminally. (Many Democrats, including then-Sen. Hillary Clinton, opposed the bill.) Explaining his vote, Sanders said:

If somebody has a gun and it falls into the hands of a murderer and the murderer kills somebody with a gun, do you hold the gun manufacturer responsible? Not any more than you would hold a hammer company responsible if somebody beats somebody over the head with a hammer. That is not what a lawsuit should be about.

And, the money quote:

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernard Sanders said Sunday that “99.9 percent” of gun owners obey the law.

“Folks who do not like guns is fine, but we have millions of people who are gun owners in this country; 99.9 percent of those people obey the law,” Mr. Sanders, a Vermont independent and self-described democratic socialist, said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

“I want to see real serious debate and action on guns. But it is not going to take place if we simply have extreme positions on both sides. I think I can bring us to the middle,” he added.

In today’s Democratic Party, the socialist can out-freedom the mainstream nominee. Good stuff.