Bloomberg hits Sanders on gun reform record

Bloomberg hits Sanders on gun reform record
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Democratic presidential candidate Mike Bloomberg attacked his primary opponent Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersThe Hill's Campaign Report: LIVE: Trump from Gettysburg | The many unknowns of 2020 | Omar among those facing primary challenges Trump's personality is as much a problem as his performance Sierra Club endorses Biden for president  MORE (I-Vt.) Thursday in a series of tweets slamming the progressive on his gun reform legislation voting record. 

Bloomberg, a billionaire self-funding his campaign, claimed the National Rifle Association (NRA) helped Sanders “get elected,” and added that Sanders then voted against a background check bill multiple times. 

“Senator Sanders has said that he’ll stand up to 'the NRA and its corrupting effect on Washington,' Bloomberg tweeted. “But the truth is that if the NRA has corrupted Washington, Bernie is among the corrupt.”

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"The NRA never endorsed Bernie Sanders and he has never taken a dime of their money," Sanders campaign adviser Jeff Weaver said in a statement. "In fact, he lost his 1988 Congressional race because he backed an assault weapons ban. But even after that, Sanders maintained his opposition to these weapons of war.”

Bloomberg claimed the NRA’s Wayne LaPierre “told Vermonters to vote for Bernie” and ran ads against Sanders's opponent in 1990. 

The NRA asked its members to vote for Sanders in his congressional bid, after Republican Rep. Peter Smith (Vt.)  changed his mind about a ban on assault weapons and the NRA sought to have him beat in his reelection campaign. 

“Bernie Sanders is a more honorable choice for Vermont sportsmen than ­Peter Smith,” LaPierre wrote at the time, according to The Washington Post.

Sanders voted against a measure that would have required a seven-day waiting period to buy a gun in 1991. He again voted against a broader version of the bill, the Brady Bill, in 1993. 

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Sanders’s record of voting on the Brady Bill was a point of contention during his campaign last presidential election cycle as well. 

In 2003 and 2005 Sanders also reportedly voted for a bill that effectively shields gun companies from lawsuits. His 2016 opponent Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonHarris favored as Biden edges closer to VP pick Ron Johnson subpoenas documents from FBI director as part of Russia origins probe Juan Williams: Older voters won't forgive Trump for COVID MORE voted against the bill during her time as a senator, which became law in 2005. 

Sanders, one of the most progressive members of his party, is now advocating for gun reform measures including a ban on the sale of assault weapons, expanding background checks and ending a gun show “loophole.” 

Sanders has also vowed off big dollar donations, running his campaign on grassroots fundraising. Bloomberg, a billionaire, is self-funding his campaign, spending millions on TV and digital ads across the country. 

Bloomberg has appeared to be an advocate for gun control in the past. The former mayor donated millions of dollars to found the gun control group Everytown. He also released a plan last year which includes several popular Democratic proposals like instating background checks and banning assault weapons. 

Bloomberg’s attack came a day after he fell flat on the Nevada debate stage. The former New York City mayor made his debate debut and was pressed by both moderators and fellow candidates about his record as mayor on prior policies like stop and frisk, as well as alleged comments he's made about and his treatment of women in the workplace.

Bloomberg is not competing in Nevada, which holds its caucuses on Saturday, and is instead focusing on the Super Tuesday and subsequent voting states.

Updated Feb. 20, 8:00 p.m.