At the third Democratic debate, both Hillary Clinton and Martin O’Malley pointed out that the Vermont senator once supported a law that protects gun manufacturers and dealers from lawsuits.
“Senator Sanders voted against the Brady Bill. Senator Sanders voted to give immunity to the gun industry,” O’Malley said.
“Do not explain to me, coming from a state where Democratic governors and Republican governors have supported virtually no gun control,” Sanders began. “Do not tell me that I have not shown courage in standing up to the gun people, in voting to ban assault weapons, voting for instant background checks, voting to end the gun show loophole, and now in a position to create a consensus on gun control.”
Vermont, like New Hampshire, has almost nonexistent gun regulations. Today an estimated 70 to 75 percent of Vermonters own guns. The state essentially has no limits on who can buy them. Its constitution includes this provision: “The people have a right to bear arms for the defense of themselves and the State.”
Sanders reaffirmed that right on stage Saturday. When asked whether he would try to prevent people from getting guns in the wake of the Paris and San Bernardino attacks, he reaffirmed his support for the Second Amendment. “It’s a country in which people choose to buy guns,” he said. “That’s the right of people.”