Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders called for making existing gun laws “stronger” and “more enforceable” in the wake of last week’s bloody shooting at a Lafayette, LA, multiplex screening of Trainwreck. Speaking from New Orleans on NBC’s Meet The Press, Sanders told moderator Chuck Todd that “guns used to kill people exclusively, not for hunting, should not be sold in the United States of America.”
Rick Perry, meanwhile, took the opposite tack, suggesting on CNN that moviegoers should be allowed to arm themselves. Asked by State of the Union host Jake Tapper if he thought moviegoers should be allowed to carry guns, Perry replied, “If we believe in the Second Amendment and we believe in people’s right to protect themselves and defend themselves and their families.”
Perry, the former Texas governor now seeking the Republican nomination for president, called the notion of gun-free zones “a bad idea.”
Sanders, a longtime NRA supporter in his home (and hunter-filled) state of Vermont, seemed determined to position himself away from gun-control opponents like Perry. Sanders emphasized that he has endorsed instant criminal background checks for gun purchases, and the elimination of gun show loopholes.
The Vermont senator, running for the Democratic presidential nomination against rival Hillary Clinton, was confronted by Todd on his support for the NRA. “You continue to straddle a line, with pro-NRA votes in Vermont…,” at which point Sanders interrupted. “Chuck, that’s not what I said. I come from a state that has virtually no gun control, and yet I voted to ban certain types of assault weapons, I voted to close the gun show loophole and I voted for instant background checks. What I’ve said is that as a nation we can’t continue screaming at each other and we’ve got to find common ground.”
“I hope that nobody in America disagrees that people, as in the case of the shooter here in Louisiana, who have a history of mental instability should not be having guns,” Sanders said. “People with criminal backgrounds, people who are abusing wives and girlfriends, should not be having guns.”
Pressed by Todd for details, Sanders reiterated his support of universal instant background checks and refusal of guns for anyone “who has a criminal background that is involved in domestic abuse situations or who are unstable.”
“Second of all, I believe that we need to make sure that certain types of guns used to kill people exclusively, not for hunting, should not be sold in the United States of America.” He added, “Coming from a rural state, I think I can communicate with folks coming from urban states, where guns mean different things than they do in Vermont, where they’re used for hunting.”
When Todd brought up the subject of existing gun laws, Sanders replied, “Then we’ve got to make them stronger and we’ve got to make them more enforceable.”
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