And sick of politicians who defend them.
Bernie Sanders is running for president. He’s using every NRA talking point in the book to defend his voting record on guns, and he should know better. Yeah, he voted for the assault weapons ban — but he also voted for the pivotal liability exemption that took the NRA ten years to get passed. It was their crown jewel. (They really, really wanted it.)
Now, I realize most of you haven’t been following this as closely as I have, or for as long. But one of their favorite tactics is to compare guns to any other inanimate object — like a hammer, or a baseball bat (as Bernie does here):
“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?” he said to Jake Tapper on CNN. “Not any more than you would hold a hammer company responsible if somebody beats somebody over the head with a hammer.”
Now listen to one of the most viciously stupid men in Congress, Representative Louis Gohmert of Texas, a mere few weeks after the Sandy Hook Massacre.
“I refuse to play the game of ‘assault weapon.’ That’s any weapon. It’s a hammer.”
Sanders was defending his vote for a 2005 law that protected gun manufacturers from lawsuits by victims of gun violence in a manner that big corporations in no other sector of the economy have received. It’s the same law that has prevented parents of the Aurora massacre victims from suing the manufacturer who didn’t think twice about selling 4,300 rounds to James Holmes via the Internet without so much as a cursory check. Whether marketing guns to kids or bullets designed specifically to kill cops, there is no getting around the fact that Sanders joined Blue Dog Democrats and right-wing Republicans in giving arms-dealer conglomerates a get-out-of-jail-free card.
Meanwhile, Sanders sells himself as an anti-corporate warrior who tells inconvenient truths, bows to no special interest, and abides no corporate malfeasance. Yet he still defends this breathtakingly corporatist vote. It’s a vote he’d be savaging in every speech, had it been Senator Chuck Schumer voting to provide blanket immunity for Wall Street or Senator Mitch McConnell voting to put a force field around Big Coal.
Even worse, and actually more offensive, was Sanders’s recent response to his support for weak guns laws. It sounds innocent to the untrained ear, but if you follow the debate over gun violence and gun-safety regulations, then right away you’ll have no trouble hearing the dog whistle that usually emerges from the most right wing, racist precincts of Gunistan:
“I come from a state that has virtually no gun control, but the people of my state understand—pretty clearly—that guns in Vermont are not the same as guns in Chicago or guns in Los Angeles. In our state, guns are used for hunting. In Chicago, they’re used for kids in gangs killing other kids or people shooting police officers, shooting down innocent people.”
It’s states like Vermont that fuel Chicago’s gun violence! Firearms are illegally sold in Chicago after being legally purchased in neighboring states with little to no regulations. In fact, Sanders’s own Vermonters, whom he claims are above this kind of behavior, notoriously use the state’s lax firearms laws to ship guns into Boston and New York City (often in return for drugs).
I’m not asking you to stop supporting Bernie Sanders. I’m asking you to hold him accountable, and not accept his weasel words on an issue that affects us all.