Sanders: Guns position wasn’t ‘mistake’

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Bernie SandersBernie SandersAnti-trade senators say chamber would be crazy to pass TPP Vulnerable NH Republican ties reelection bid to Trump Overnight Finance: Congress poised to avoid shutdown | Yellen defends Fed from Trump | Why Obama needs PhRMA on trade MORE called for the country to take a “new look” at a bill he previously backed to provide immunity for the gun industry after repeated criticism from Hillary Clinton on the issue.

But he refused to classify his 2005 vote for the measure as a “mistake.”   

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“It’s not a mistake, like many issues of legislation, it’s complicated,” Sanders said Monday night at the Iowa Black and Brown Democratic Presidential Forum.

The law protects the gun industry from civil lawsuits in case of accidents or “misuse.” But Sanders argued that repealing the law could have unintended consequences for small gun shops.

“You are a small gun shop owner in the state of Vermont, you sell her a gun legally, she goes through the instant background check. Then she goes out later and shoots somebody. Should she be sued? No, I don’t think so,” Sanders said.

“On the other hand, if you are a gun manufacturer who is selling guns into an area and you are selling a whole lot of guns and you have reason to believe a lot of those guns are not meant for the people in that area but are being distributed to criminal elements, should you be prosecuted? Damn right.”

Clinton stepped up her criticism of Sanders on the issue, noting that both she and then-Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) voted against the measure, but Sanders voted for it while in the House. She framed Sanders’s vote as at odds with the president’s push for gun control, citing an op-ed from the president last week that mentioned the immunity as a policy that needed to be changed.