Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders
touts his "democratic socialist" and "progressive" leanings on the presidential campaign trail, but his gun control voting record screams NRA, according to Slate magazine.
Slate writer Mark Joseph Stern warns
liberal readers to take note that Sanders "stands firmly to [Hillary] Clinton’s right on one issue of overwhelming importance to the Democratic base: gun control."
Stern then ticks off Sanders' offending votes, including 1993 when as a House member he voted against the Brady Act, which mandated federal background checks for gun purchasers and restricted felons’ access to firearms. He also supported bills to allow firearms in checked bags on Amtrak and to block funding to any foreign aid group that registered or taxed Americans' guns, Stern notes.
But Stern is more aghast at Sanders' vote in 2005 for the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, which Stern argues "protects gun manufacturers, distributors, dealers, and importers."
"The PLCAA was the No. 1 legislative priority of the National Rifle Association for years, because it shields gun makers and dealers from most liability when their firearms are used criminally," Stern writes. "It is one of the most noxious pieces of pro-gun legislation ever passed. And Bernie Sanders voted for it."
Though Slate finds reason to be shocked and dismayed at Sanders' record on gun control, Reason magazine declares it refreshing.
"In reality, as Stern parenthetically conceded at the end of that overwrought paragraph, Sanders supports plenty of gun control measures, including intrusive background checks and sweeping federal bans on 'assault weapons,'" Reason's Damon Root points out.
"Sanders’ one and only sin—or should I say virtue?—is that he’s slightly out-of-step with the anti-gun zealotry embraced by Stern. Will that mild apostasy on gun control hurt Sanders’ already-slim chances in the Democratic primary? I doubt it, but I guess we’ll find out."
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