Bernie Sanders, a Democratic candidate for president, does not believe gun manufacturers or gun dealers should be held liable for the criminal misuse of their products. It’s a common sense position that one ought to agree with irrespective of one’s feelings on guns. We don’t allow lawsuits against Ford when a drunk driver kills someone in their F-150.
In an interview with the Daily News, which was later titled “Bernie’s Sandy Hook Shame,” Sanders once again made it clear that he doesn’t believe the families of the victims of Sandy Hook have legal standing to sue Bushmaster, the maker of the long gun allegedly used in the shooting that killed 20 school children and six staff members.
Daily News: There’s a case currently waiting to be ruled on in Connecticut. The victims of the Sandy Hook massacre are looking to have the right to sue for damages the manufacturers of the weapons. Do you think that that is something that should be expanded?
Sanders: Do I think the victims of a crime with a gun should be able to sue the manufacturer, is that your question?
Daily News: Correct.
Sanders: No, I don’t.
Daily News: Let me ask you. I know we’re short on time. Two quick questions. Your website talks about…
Sanders: No, let me just…I’m sorry. In the same sense that if you’re a gun dealer and you sell me a gun and I go out and I kill him [gestures to someone in room]…. Do I think that that gun dealer should be sued for selling me a legal product that he misused? [Shakes head no.] But I do believe that gun manufacturers and gun dealers should be able to be sued when they should know that guns are going into the hands of wrong people. So if somebody walks in and says, “I’d like 10,000 rounds of ammunition,” you know, well, you might be suspicious about that. So I think there are grounds for those suits, but not if you sell me a legal product.
It didn’t take long for Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton, who lost to Sanders in Tuesday’s Wisconsin primary, to pounce on Sanders for his reasonable response.
“That he would place gun manufacturers’ rights and immunity from liability against the parents of the children killed at Sandy Hook is just unimaginable to me,” Clinton said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”
Clinton has made no bones about the fact that she would like gun dealers and gun manufacturers to be open to all sorts of frivolous lawsuits. In essence, Clinton would like the gun industry to be sued out of existence.
Jeff Weaver, the campaign manager for Sanders, responded to the Daily News interview.
“What came up was about small stores in rural areas that support a hunting community,” Weaver said, referencing Sanders home state of Vermont.
“Certainly he does not support people, companies engaged in reckless conduct that puts guns or ammunition in the hands of people who shouldn’t have it. So he is certainly in favor of making sure that anyone who is a bad actor is punished, but anyone that is not a bad actor should not be punished.”
Now, Sanders isn’t perfect on guns. Far from it. He does support a ban on modern sporting rifles. But at least, he is not totally blinded by anti-gun ideology. He has enough good sense and integrity to recognize how
intellectually dishonest flat-out stupid it is to hold a gun manufacturer accountable for the criminal acts of a sociopath.