A comment defending gun manufacturers during Sunday night's Democratic debate received a thumbs-up from the NRA and has placed Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders in an awkward position that could be damaging to his campaign.
During the debate, both candidates were asked about gun control laws, with Sanders forced to defend his 2005 vote in favor of limiting liability for gun manufacturers after moderator Anderson Cooper brought up a lawsuit filed by parents of the Sandy Hook victims.
"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 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?" Sanders asked. "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 manufacturer's liable is if they understand that they are selling guns in an area getting into the hands of criminals, of course they should be held liable," he continued, his voice rising. "If they are selling a product and the person who buys it legally, what you are really talking about is ending gun manufacturing in America. That's the implications of that, and I don't agree with that."
While Sanders' comment was at odds at with most Democrats, it did find favor with the NRA on Monday when the organization tweeted: "Sen. Sanders was spot-on in his comments about gun manufacturer liability/PLCAA," with an accompanying graphic reading, “What you’re really talking about is ending gun manufacturing in America. I don’t agree with that.”
The NRA tweet may be unhelpful to Sanders coming after a night when the candidate was harshly criticized on Twitter for his stance on guns during the debate.
A sampling below, including the NRA's tweet:
Sen. Sanders was spot-on in his comments about gun manufacturer liability/PLCAA https://t.co/nDjEerjkgB #DemDebate https://t.co/jEScbMDFt4— NRA (@NRA)1457363502.0
In 2008, Barack Obama talked about people clinging to their guns. In 2016, we watched Bernie Sanders desperately cling to the gun industry.— Ragnarok Lobster (@Ragnarok Lobster)1457332497.0
So Sanders' position appears to be, "if you make airplanes, go jump off a cliff but if you make guns, you're basically fine." What the hell— 🕷Dante Atkins🕷 (@🕷Dante Atkins🕷)1457316112.0
That entire Sanders series on guns was horrible. How does he not have an answer on that question yet?— Kevin M. Kruse (@Kevin M. Kruse)1457316084.0
even Sanders's supporters seem to groan about his answers on guns, it's probably the only issue Clinton can attack him from the "left"— Brendan James (@Brendan James)1457316152.0