Sanders: Rural gun rights, urban public safety need balance (VIDEO)


Vermont Democratic Sen. Bernie Sanders on Sunday told ABC’s “This Week” the country needs to engage in a dialogue to produce “common-sense legislation” to preserve gun rights and also protect the public.

“We can’t have people demagoguing against folks just because they go out and hunt and they own guns,” said Sanders, a 2016 presidential hopeful. “On the other hand, rural America has got to understand that guns in Vermont are not the same thing as guns in Chicago where they’re used to kill kids or to shoot at police officers.”

A Super PAC allied with Maryland governor and presidential candidate Martin O’Malley scrutinized Sanders’ voting record, calling him “no progressive when it comes to guns.”

It called him out for voting against the Brady Bill in 2003 and for a measure protecting gun manufacturers from family lawsuits in 2005.

In response to the ad, Sanders said the people of Vermont knew differently. He said the state has virtually no gun control while his voting record shows he wants to keep guns out of the hands of criminals.

“They know every single race I have run in, with the exception of one, the NRA and the gun lobbies and the people who are most interested in guns supported my opponent,” Sanders said. “I have a lifetime voting record with the NRA of somewhere between D and F.”

The senator voted for a 2013 assault weapons ban that was shot down in the Senate 59-39 and cast a yea vote the same year to limit firearm magazine capacity, which was down-voted 54-44 in the same chamber, according to Project Vote Smart.

“In terms of gun control, if we are finally going to have any serious success, what we need to do is bridge this cultural divide between rural America – and I represent a very rural state – and urban America and come up with some common-sense legislation.”