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Mar 04 2016

Sanders Calls for All “Non-Hunting Guns” to be Outlawed

Bernie Sanders is at it again, calling for for all “non-hunting guns” to be outlawed. When discussing the merits of Democratic hopeful Bernie Sanders, topics typically include “taxing the rich,” “affordable college,” and a tax plan that could be disasterous to the economy. Talking points rarely seem to include things like the Senator’s stance on gun control, despite the fact that Sanders has supported an assault weapons ban since as early as 1988 and has voted in favor of several major gun control measures.

Recently, a video of Sanders (above) during a previous appearance on NBC’s Meet the Press has resurfaced, in which he said:

Nobody should have a gun who has a criminal background, who’s involved in domestic abuse situations. People should not have guns who are going to hurt other people, who are unstable. And second of all I believe that we need to make sure that certain types of guns used to kill people, exclusively, not for hunting, they should not be sold in the United States of America, and we have a huge loophole now with gun shows that should be eliminated. 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 it’s used for hunting.

People in support of gun control might find none of this particularly inflammatory. In fact, what he’s saying probably “make sense,” unless the person listening knows that the “gun show loophole” is a myth and a gross exaggeration and that national background checks are already a thing – even at gun shows. They might also point to the 1994 Assault Weapons Ban as an example of “good policy” and demand it be reenacted, adding to their Bernie Sanders fervor.

The fact of the matter is, there has been no change in the amount of mass shootings over the last several decades. A study on the effects of the Assault Weapons Ban, conducted via a Justice Department grant, has remained inconclusive and claims “Should it be renewed, the ban’s effects on gun violence are likely to be small at best.” Further, by the FBI’s own statistics, violent crime continues to decline and is at the lowest rates since the 1970s. Chicago, a gun control mecca, boasts some of the highest murder rates in the country, with 488 homicides last year. As of midday today, March 4th, the city has already seen 5 murders this month. The total number of shooting victims for the year, thus far, is is 491. Last year saw a total of 2,987.

The problem with Bernie’s logic – that we should outlaw all guns that aren’t used exclusively for hunting, and/or have the capacity to kill – is that all guns have the capacity to kill. So do cars, knives, hammers, baseball bats, rocks, etc. But just because something has the potential to kill, does not mean that it will be used to do so. Guns are not made exclusively to kill – they are also made to defend. Guns are a tool with which people can defend their lives, their property, their loved ones. Sanders can call for another assault weapons ban, but it won’t change the numbers and it won’t change the facts. Bernie claims that guns in Vermont are used exclusively for hunting and that guns in cities are used exclusively for killing. Is that not, then, a problem with inner city gang culture, rather than a problem with the guns themselves?

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