Clinton to Sanders: Gun control is ‘not a laughing matter’

Lisa Belkin
·Chief National Correspondent

As they have in nearly every debate, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders clashed sharply over the subject of guns.

It started with the question of whether Clinton had “seriously” blamed Vermont, and by extension Sanders, for New York’s gun violence, because earlier in the week, she did point out that most of the guns used in crime in New York came from other states, specifically his.

“Of course not,” she said, but when Sanders chuckled, she became more than serious. “It’s not a laughing matter. Ninety people a day are killed or commit suicide or die in accidents from guns, 33,000 people a year. I take it really seriously, because I have spent more time than I care to remember being with people who have lost their loved ones.”

The two then clashed on all facets of gun control policy. Clinton noted that Sanders voted against the Brady Bill and for granting immunity from liability to gun makers and dealers. Sanders responded that he lost his first congressional campaign because of his support of an assault-weapons ban. Clinton said that the reason he won his next race was because he promised the NRA he would vote against waiting periods to buy weapons.

Much of the back-and-forth at the CNN Democratic presidential primary debate in Brooklyn was familiar, but in the midst of it, Clinton pressed a line that has gotten less attention. Asked about whether Sandy Hook parents should be able to sue those who advertise and sell weapons, or whether manufacturers should be immune from such lawsuits, she said: “This is the only industry in America that has this kind of special protection. We hear a lot from Sen. Sanders about the greed and recklessness of Wall Street. … But what about the greed and recklessness of the gun manufacturers and dealers in America?”

Cover thumbnail photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images