Tonight, Sanders said that he’s from “a state that has virtually no gun control.” That, he argued, put him in a good position to talk to the 60 or 70 percent of Americans who want tougher gun control regulations. But his ideas about states with varying levels of firearm restrictions are fundamentally flawed, especially in light of Friday’s attacks in Paris.
In the past, Sanders has said that he wants to leave gun regulations to the states, a policy that would allow Vermont to keep its lenient gun laws. But the massacre last night demonstrates the problems with that scheme. Though France outlaws most gun ownership, the weapons used on Friday were most likely smuggled across the porous French border from Eastern Europe.
The United States faces similar problems. As states have implemented new legislation to prevent mass shootings, an underground network has sprung up to funnel firearms from states with lenient gun laws, like Alabama, to states with stricter ones, like New York and New Jersey.
If Sanders wants to simply let states decide gun control laws as they see fit, that won’t remedy the problem: Gun traffickers don’t respect state law.