Hillary Clinton is continuing to hammer Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) on his positions on gun rights, even as Sanders attempts to move left on the issue.
In an Sunday CNN interview, Clinton took an unprompted shot at Sanders on the issue.
She told host Jake Tapper that she was “pleased” that Sanders had apparently reversed his support for legislation that shields gun manufacturers from lawsuits brought by victims of gun violence.
“I’m very pleased that he flip-flopped on the immunity legislation,” Clinton said. “Now I hope he will flip-flop on what we call the Charleston loophole, and join legislation to close that, because it’s been a key argument of my campaign that we Democrats, in fact, Americans need to stand up to the gun lobby and pass comprehensive common-sense gun measures that will make America safer.”
Sanders supported a 2005 bill that granted relative immunity to gun manufacturers and distributors from lawsuits brought by family members of victims of gun violence. He has said that such lawsuits could hurt small gun store owners who he does not believe should be held responsible. But this week, his campaign clarified that he’d support a new bill that would largely reverse the 2005 legislation.
For his part, Sanders appeared on CNN just minutes after Clinton. In his appearance, he criticised the Clinton campaign for attempting to cast him as friendly with the gun industry.
“I resent very much the Clinton camp saying I’m in the [National Rifle Association] lobby. I have a D-minus — that’s D as in David — D-minus voting record,” Sanders said, referring to the NRA’s grades for each member of Congress, based on how they vote on certain gun legislation.
Sanders also denied that he flip-flopped. He said he had long supported legislation re-examining the 2005 law to determine whether it could be rewritten to ensure that gun manufacturers are not knowingly selling weapons in that could easily be distributed to criminals.
“This is a position that I’ve had for several months,” Sanders said.
Clinton’s comments on Sunday come as multiple polls find her and Sanders locked in a tight race in New Hampshire and Iowa, the first two nominating states.
“The race is tightening,” a top Democratic strategist told Business Insider. “And the reason that you know that it is tightening is that in the last week, I’ve seen more attacks from Clinton and pro-Clinton group on Bernie Sanders than in the months prior combined. There’s been a lot more communication among Clinton supporters, more talking points — they have just been more aggressive.”
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