The Washington Examiner recently reported on Bernie Sanders former pro-gun life.
Yes, this is not a typo.
The Vermont Senator attributed his loss in his first congressional race in 1988 to his support for gun control.
However, two years later, Sanders ran to the right of his Republican opponent on the Second Amendment.
With the National Rifle Association’s endorsement, Sanders was able to unseat Congressman Peter Smith.
This illustrated how Sanders was politically aware of the rural culture present in Vermont, which made him adjust accordingly.
After failing to beat Smith in 1988, Sanders ran again in 1990, but this time he attacked Smith for his support for a federal ban on “assault” style weapons.
Sanders called out Smith for backing the ban, declaring that he was “turning [his] back on the 30 percent who believe in no gun control.”
“In the last year, polling in Vermont has shown that 65 to 70 percent support some kind of gun control, so it is not a great act of courage to adopt a position supported by 70 percent of the population,” Sanders stated. “Clearly, this was a very pointed political strategy, in which you turn your back on the 30 percent who believe in no gun control, and then turn to the 70 percent who support your new position. I think people will see through that.”
Sanders won in his second attempt. Once he arrived in Congress, he repeatedly voted against various Democrat-backed gun control bills.
In 1991 and in 1993, Sanders rejected a mandatory waiting period for gun purchases. In 1993, he also voted against the Brady Bill, which was enacted by Congress and President Bill Clinton, which created the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS).
Sanders continued his relatively pro-gun votes in 2003 and 2005 when he voted for a bill that bestowed partial immunity to gun manufacturers in certain civil lawsuits. Further, Sanders twice voted against the assault weapon ban in 1994 and 2013.
Sanders’s Democrat rivals have called attention to his pro-gun votes on the campaign trail. Former Vice President Joe Biden has called out Sanders for these votes. Sanders has responded by pointing to his presidential platform, which calls for strict gun control policies.
“Until the last — two years ago — we had virtually no gun control legislation at all, and I represented that perspective,” Sanders stated during February’s Democratic debate. “The world has changed, and my views have changed. And my view is right now, we need universal background checks. We end the gun show loophole. We end the so-called strawman provision. We make certain that we end the sale and distribution of assault weapons in this country.”