Sunday’s Democratic debate, as expected, hit on the issue of guns in America, specifically the liability for gun manufacturers for crimes committed with their products; and the 2005 Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, which gives them broad immunity from lawsuits intended to drive them out of business.
According to this story from CNSnews.com, Sanders voted for the bill, whereas Clinton voted against it and is now calling for its repeal.
During the debate, moderator Anderson Cooper mentioned that nine families of children killed in the shooting in Newtown, Connecticut have sued Remington and others, arguing the Bushmaster AR-15 used in the attack was “too powerful” and shouldn’t have been sold to civilians.
“Now, the lawsuit may not go anywhere because of the bill you voted for—legislation that prevents gun makers from being sued. Tonight, what do you say to those families?” Cooper asked of Sanders.
“Well, this is what I say, if I understand it—and correct me if I’m wrong. If you go to a gun store and you legally purchase a gun, and then three days later, if you go out and start killing people, is the point of this lawsuit to hold the gun shop owner or the manufacturer of that gun liable?
“If that is the point, I have to tell you I disagree. I disagree because you hold people—in terms of this liability thing, where you hold manufacturers’ liable is if they understand that they’re selling guns into an area that—it’s getting into the hands of criminals, of course, they should be held liable.
“But if they are selling a product to a person who buys it legally, what you’re really talking about is ending gun manufacturing in America. I don’t agree with that.”
Clinton argued that isn’t what the suit is about and that “groups of cities, states and other concerned people ‘were working on legal theories that they thought would force gun makers to do more to make guns safer and force sellers to be much more responsible.'”
Sanders accused Clinton of not responding to the issue at hand.
“…Essentially, your position is there should not be any guns in America, period.”
Then the candidates began to speak over each other and Sanders demanded to be allowed to finish, saying “Can I finish, please? Alright?” according to this story from the New York Times.
“I think what you do is you hold those people who have used the gun accountable,” Sanders said.
“Clinton jumped in again: ‘Anderson, I just want to finish, because this — I know some of the parents from Sandy Hook. I want people in this audience to think about what it must feel like to send off your first grader, little backpack, maybe, on his or her back, and then the next thing you hear is that somebody has come to that school using an automatic weapon, an AR-15, and murdered those children.
“‘Now, they are trying to prevent that from happening to any other family. And the best way to do that is to go right at the people —
“‘You talk about corporate greed?’ Clinton asked Sanders, who was trying to interrupt. 1The gun manufacturers sell guns to make as much money as they can make!’
“Sanders, given a chance to respond, said, ‘Look, what happened at Sandy Hook, what happened in Michigan, what has happened far too often all over this country is a terrible, terrible tragedy, and we have got to do everything we can, as I mentioned a moment ago, to end these mass killings…but it, as I understand it, Anderson, and maybe I’m wrong, what you’re really talking about is people saying let’s end gun manufacturing in America. That’s the implications of that, and I don’t agree with that.’”
Read the full story from CNSnews.com here and watch the March 6, 2016 Democratic presidential debate below: