Presidential races

Sanders: Gun control won’t solve all our problems

Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) emphasized America’s “cultural divide” over gun control in light of last week’s Charleston shootings and defended his centrist approach on the issue in an interview that aired Thursday.

“I can understand that if some Democrats or Republicans represent an urban area where people don’t hunt, don’t do target practice, they’re not into guns. But, in my state, people go hunting and people do target practice,” he said on NPR’s “Morning Edition.”

“Talking about cultural divides in this country, you know, it is important for people in urban America to understand that families go out together and kids go out with their parents and they hunt and they enjoy the outdoors and that is a lifestyle that should not be condemned.”

{mosads}Sanders is looking to mount a more liberal challenge against Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton, but on the issue of guns, he’s further to Clinton’s right. He supported the 2013 background check expansion and assault weapon ban bills that died in the Senate, but was against the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act in 1993.

Democrats have been calling for a renewed push for gun control regulations after nine congregants at a historically black church in Charleston, S.C., were killed. While Sanders said he’s open to that debate and that he’d support “strong, sensible gun control,” that’s just one piece of the puzzle.

“If anyone thinks that gun control itself is going to solve the problem of violence in this country, you’re terribly mistaken,” he said.

“So, obviously, we need strong, sensible gun control and I will support it. But some people think it’s going to solve all of our problems. It is not.”

He added that America faces a “crisis in the capability of addressing mental health illness.”

“When people are hurting and are prepared to do something terrible, they need to have help immediately,” he said.

“We don’t have that and we should have that.”  

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