Sanders flips vote on gun control bill

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Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersSanders: My emails would be just as harsh about Clinton AT&T-Time Warner merger: Rigged by cozy regulatory relationships? Juan Williams: When WikiLeaks leaked my cell number MORE (D-Vt.) is reversing his position on a controversial gun control bill that Hillary ClintonHillary Rodham ClintonThe Hill's 12:30 Report Jay-Z to hold pro-Clinton concert in Cleveland Former FCC chairman speaks out against AT&T, Time Warner merger MORE has used to hammer him.

Sanders will co-sponsor legislation that would allow the victims of gun violence to sue firearms manufacturers and dealers who sell the weapons to criminals, his office confirmed Thursday.

Currently, the gun industry is shielded from lawsuits by a controversial law that Sanders voted for in 2005. Clinton, the Democratic presidential front-runner, and gun control groups have criticized Sanders for siding with the gun lobby.

Sanders is now joining efforts to roll back those protections for the gun industry.

The bill is not likely to pass in a Republican-controlled Congress, but Sanders’s support is significant because his political opponents have attacked him on the issue.

“This is the least he can do,” said Dan Gross, president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, which is endorsing Clinton over Sanders in the presidential race.

“The difference between Clinton and Sanders is that she didn’t wait until the campaign to champion gun violence prevention,” Gross added.

“Sanders has a long road ahead of him to prove to all of us who have been victims of gun violence that he is sincere in his efforts to stand up to the gun lobby,” he said.

The Equal Justice for Victims of Gun Violence Act introduced Wednesday by Sens. Richard BlumenthalRichard BlumenthalOvernight Healthcare: Biden hints at new money for cancer research | Trump details opioid plan | Dem urges feds to reject EpiPen settlement Dem calls on DOJ to reject EpiPen settlement Why Yahoo's breach could turn the SEC into a cybersecurity tiger MORE (D-Conn.) and Chris MurphyChris MurphyPodesta floated Bill Gates, Bloomberg as possible Clinton VPs Dem senator calls for end of Saudi support in Yemen after funeral bombing Dems to McConnell: Pass 'clean' extension of Iran sanctions MORE (D-Conn.) would open the gun industry to lawsuits.

Sanders officially co-sponsored the gun control bill Thursday, though he implied his support for the bill earlier this month. 

“I’m pleased that this legislation is being introduced,” Sanders said on Jan. 16, a couple weeks before the bill was released. “As I have said for many months now, we need to look at the underlying law and tighten it up."