It's Not Hard to Figure Out Why Bernie Sanders Is Now 'Mr. Confiscation' On Gun Policy

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Posted: Feb 19, 2020 12:30 PM
It's Not Hard to Figure Out Why Bernie Sanders Is Now 'Mr. Confiscation' On Gun Policy

Source: AP Photo/Charles Krupa

Sen. Bernie Sanders caucuses with a party that is anti-gun. We all know this. The Democratic Party is for gun confiscation. They’re for destroying Second Amendment freedoms. They’re for shredding the Constitution. For years, Sanders remained in line with his constituents. Vermont is a heavily armed state. It’s constitutional carry and for all you anti-gunners who don’t know what that is, it’s what should be a national law. It simply states you don’t need a permit to conceal or open carry. Yes, Vermont, in deep-blue New England, has such a law on the books, along with a gun ownership rate that hovers around 70-75 percent. If you enter a Vermont resident’s home, there’s a high chance that they own a gun. One of Sanders' most criticized votes is his vote to protect this freedom from endless litigation. 

In 2005, the Bush White House signed into law one of the most pro-gun bills in recent memory, the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA), which barred frivolous lawsuits against gun manufacturers. If Democrats and anti-gun liberals couldn’t confiscate all the guns, they were going after the makers of them through endless lawsuits from victims’ families. The law simply states that no lawsuit can be filed against gun manufacturers whose products are unknowingly and unwillingly used in crimes. The push to sue the Second Amendment out of existence was topped. Sanders voted “yes” on the bill. You bet, in 2016, that this was brought up by the Hillary Clinton campaign—and media outlets reported on his 2005 vote as well (via Mother Jones):

In October 2005, Congress passed the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA), granting sweeping legal immunity to the gun industry. Gun manufacturers who lobbied for the bill warned that suits like New York’s were a scheme hatched by activist lawyers and judges to bankrupt the gun industry. The bill’s sponsor, Sen. Larry Craig (R-Idaho), named the New York case on the Senate floor as an example “of the predatory lawsuits” that the PLCAA aimed “to provide for the dismissal of.”

[…]

 More than a decade after its passage, the PLCAA is at the center of a fierce debate over gun control between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, the leading candidates for the Democratic presidential nomination. As a senator from New York in 2005, Clinton voted against the PLCAA; Sanders, then in the House of Representatives, voted for it, as he had done for an earlier iteration of the measure that failed in 2003. Recently, Clinton has accused Sanders of bowing to the National Rifle Association on this key piece of legislation. Sanders, who hails from a rural state with lax gun laws, has defended his vote as a way to protect the “small mom-and-pop gun shop” in Vermont from frivolous lawsuits.

Well, that’s all over now. The 2016 primaries led to Sanders announcing that he would repeal the PLCAA if elected. Why the shift? Well, it’s quite simple. As Stephen Gutowski of the Washington Free Beacon wrote, it was merely to win elections. In Vermont, he bucked the party line on the position to win. On the national stage, he has to transform into Mr. confiscation to avoid being trounced in the primary; it’s politics 101:

Political experts say that Sanders has moved to the left along with the rest of his party after he issue became a major vulnerability for him in his 2016 primary campaign against Hillary Clinton, who found and exploited Sanders' rare vulnerability on the left.

"Bernie shifted with the Democratic Party (even as an independent)," Professor Larry Sabato, director of the University of Virginia Center for Politics, said in an email. "And he saw in 2016 his gun record could be a real detriment to his presidential ambitions."

[…]

He has faced scrutiny for his so-called evolution, however. When pressed on his vote against the 1993 Brady background check bill by New York Times editorial board in January, Sanders said, "the world has changed a little bit."

"I certainly have changed on that issue," he added.

Political experts, as well as partisans on both sides of the debate, have picked up on Sanders's move the left. NRA spokeswoman Amy Hunter said the senator's position has fallen into line with a primary electorate that has moved further left on the issue.

[…]

Alan Gottlieb of the Second Amendment Foundation put it more bluntly.

"Bernie Sanders early on in his political career had to be against gun control to win elections in Vermont," he told the Free Beacon. "To compete on the national stage of the Democratic Party he has abandoned that position. The Democrats have become the party of gun prohibition."

I mean, no kidding, right? I’m sure you all knew this, but did his past gun rights record have any impact? It’s hard to say; he’s now the undisputed Democratic frontrunner, but even with votes against the Brady bill and for PLCAA—I think progressive Democrats would have still backed this guy. It’s one issue—and it’s certainly not at the top of the list for this block of voters who will march to the gates of hell for him. They want overhauls in health care, how government works, delegating power back to the people, and fighting climate change. No doubt gun violence is on these peoples’ top ten list, but it’s on the lower tier here. As for 2016, please—Hillary Clinton was going to be the nominee. Sanders mounted a solid insurgency, but once the contest swung south below the Mason-Dixon line, Clinton got a delegate lead that Sanders would not be able to overcome given the Democrats’ delegate allocation rules. We should be thankful he decided to shift leftward. He has a message that some Trump supporters would find appealing, especially those in the anti-elite bloc of the coalition—and the fear of him taking guns away would be neutralized. Now, it wouldn’t be all, but it could have been enough to make things interesting. No more with this shift—and that’s a good thing. Besides Bernie Sanders’ health care plan that would rip away 150+ million private plans from Americans—he also will take law-abiding citizen’s firearms, their private property. No health care, no freedom, no right to self-defense—Sanders 2020. Talk about a losing message that the Trump team will put on blast.