Even Some Supporters Are Calling Clinton Out Over Her Misleading Vermont Gun Claims

Leah Barkoukis
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Posted: Apr 13, 2016 8:36 AM
Even Some Supporters Are Calling Clinton Out Over Her Misleading Vermont Gun Claims

Hillary Clinton has attacked opponent Bernie Sanders countless times on the campaign trail over his position on gun control. Recently, she took aim at his support of a law that protects gun manufacturers and dealers from being sued when criminals unlawfully use their product, going so far as to say that “he would place gun manufacturers' rights and immunity from liability against the parents of the children killed at Sandy Hook.” A claim, which S.E. Cupp points out, is totally false.

Not content to stop there, however, Clinton is now trying to blame Sanders’ home state of Vermont for New York’s crime problem. Seriously.

Speaking in New York this week, Clinton said that when Sanders is "challenged on his gun stances, he frequently says: 'Well, I represent Vermont. It's a small, rural state.'"

“Here’s what I want you to know: Most of the guns that are used in crimes and violence and killings in New York come from out of state,” she continued, using ATF data to back up her claim. “And the state that has the highest per capita number of those guns that end up committing crimes in New York come from Vermont.”

But taking a closer look at the data tells a different story, The Washington Times points out:

The ATF data — which trace the source states of firearms recovered in New York — show that just 55 Vermont guns were recovered in New York in 2014, making Vermont the 14th-highest offender.

For comparison purposes, nearly 1,400 guns recovered in New York were from inside the state. A dozen other states also were much higher offenders than Vermont, including Pennsylvania, with 371 guns seized in New York; Virginia, with 395; North Carolina, with 279; Georgia, with 386; and a host of others.

Even California was nearly on par with Vermont. Forty-nine California guns were recovered in New York in 2014, federal data show.

Her attempt to portray The Green Mountain State as the root of New York’s gun crime problems was even too much for some of her supporters to swallow, including, not surprisingly, Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin.

“It is campaign season, therefore things are sometimes said by all the candidates that sometimes aren’t entirely accurate,” Shumlin said, reports Vermont’s WCAX television station. “I think you’d have a hard time convincing Vermonters that New York’s crime problems are coming from Vermont.”

Gun control advocates also pointed out that the figures can be misleading.

“If you look at the raw data, it doesn’t seem like that much because we’re a 30th the size” of New York, Ann Braden, president of the gun control advocacy group Gun Sense Vermont, told the Times.  

“You can have both sides saying opposite things and the statistics they’re relying on can be correct.”

The Washington Post gave Clinton “Three Pinocchios,” noting that she was using a “misleading data point.”

Sanders' campaign spokesman Michael Briggs was quick to explain that Vermont is only responsible for "tiny fraction of the overall out-of-state guns" recovered each year in New York. "No wonder so many people say they don't trust her," he told the Associated Press. 

Besides, Sanders has been in Congress for 25 years. The fact that Clinton is trying to suggest he has any sort of influence on Vermont gun laws is absurd.