Gun control group bashing Sanders, Chafee

A prominent gun control advocate is bashing Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and other Democratic presidential candidates for their ties to the National Rifle Association (NRA).

Dan Gross, president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, said he is even more concerned about Sanders’s record on guns following the debate.

Sanders “mirrors the talking points of the gun lobby,” said Gross, who praised Hillary Clinton and former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley for hammering the senator on the issue.

“Last night, it was summarized as, ‘Don’t vote for Sanders, because he sides with the corporate gun lobby over the American people.’” Gross said.

Gross also expressed concerns to a lesser extent with what former Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee and former Virginia Sen. Jim Webb had to say about guns.

Chafee suggested he would bring the NRA to the bargaining table over gun violence, but Gross called it an unrealistic pipe dream.

“This is not a negotiation with the NRA,” Gross said. “We don’t negotiate with terrorists.”

By contrast, Democratic frontrunner Clinton and former Gov. O’Malley have both made gun control a focus of their respective campaigns.

Neither was shy to fire back at Sanders over gun control.

Sanders came into the first Democratic presidential debate with a mixed record on guns, and he did little to ease the concerns of gun control advocates. 

He talked about respecting the right of hunters in rural communities to own guns, which is in line with arguments from the NRA. But Gross said this “perpetuates the myth that sensible gun laws are at odds with hunters and supporters of the Second Amendment.”

“We take exception to anyone promoting that myth,” Gross said. “We need to get past it.”

Sanders is also taking heat over legislation he supported in 2005 that shields the gun industry from lawsuits. Though he switched his position during the debate, gun control advocates remain wary. 

They’re also upset that Sanders voted against the original law requiring background checks before gun sales in 1993. However, he more recently switched positions and voted in 2013 for expanding background checks to cover all gun sales.

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