Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Monday night hammered Sen. Bernard Sanders’ record on gun legislation and blamed the senator’s home state of Vermont for allowing criminals to get their hands on guns and subsequently commit crimes in New York.
Speaking at a roundtable discussion on gun violence, Mrs. Clinton cited federal data showing that, in 2014, more firearms from Vermont were recovered at New York crime scenes than guns from any other state. Mr. Sanders strongly supports additional federal restrictions on firearms and increased background checks, but he also opposes holding gun manufacturers liable for shootings, along with other, more nuanced positions on the issue.
Ahead of the April 19 New York primary, Mrs. Clinton clearly hopes to use the issue to her advantage.
“Here’s what I want you to know: Most of the guns that are used in crimes and violence and killings in New York come from out of state,” Mrs. Clinton said at the Port Washington roundtable. “And the state that has the highest per capita number of those guns that end up committing crimes in New York come from Vermont.”
She also cited ATF data that show 61 guns from Vermont were recovered at New York crime scenes in 2013.
Differences on gun violence have become a key distinction between Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Sanders throughout this primary season. Mr. Sanders has stressed, for example, that he does not believe gun manufacturers should be sued for selling products legally, but he does believe there are cases in which they should be held liable.
“I do believe that gun manufacturers and gun dealers should be able to be sued when they should know that guns are going into the hands of wrong people,” he told the New York Daily News last week. “So, if somebody walks in and says, ‘I’d like 10,000 rounds of ammunition,’ you know, well, you might be suspicious about that. So, I think there are grounds for those suits, but not if you sell me a legal product.”