Sandy Phillips’ daughter was 24 years old when she was murdered seven years ago in the Aurora, Colorado movie theater mass shooting.
In 2005, Bernie Sanders while working in the House of Representatives supported a law which the National Rifle Association (NRA) backed which permitted manufacturers of guns legal protection.
Of the 59 Democrats who agreed with the NRA legislation in the GOP majority House, Sanders supported the bill and voted for it.
Phillips said the bill Sanders voted for, almost made her family bankrupt.
Phillips said during Sander’s 2016 presidential run, she called him, requesting he clarify the reason for his vote. She spoke with NBC News saying he was arrogant and dismissive with her saying that he would love to discuss this with her, but he was too busy to do so.
A few days before the Iowa caucus in 2018, Vermont independent Sanders made an announcement saying would co-sponsor a bill which would repeal the law he voted for, as he started to face criticism over his vote.
Weeks later, Sanders contradicted himself. He said victims of gun crimes should not be permitted to sue. Days later while participating in a debate he flip-flopped, saying victims should be able to sue.
Lucky Gunner, the online retailer who sold 4,000 rounds of ammunition to the killer of Phillips, was sued by her and her husband. They sold the ammunition which would pierce through armor to an individual over the internet without conducting a background check.
The suit was dismissed because of the law protecting gun retailers. Phillips had to not only cover her legal fees but was ordered by a judge to cover Lucky Gunner’s legal expenses of $200,000.
Sanders has backed the agenda of the NRA multiple times while in Congress. In 1993, Sanders voted against a bill which would have established a system for national background checks before permitting to purchase a gun.
Also, earlier in his career, he voted against federal funding which was aimed for gun violence prevention.
After Sanders entered the 2020 presidential race, founder of Moms Demand Action, a gun control group, and Phillips attacked Sanders on Twitter.
Watts tweeted that Saunders had historically sided with the gun lobbyists, and did not bring up the topic in the launch videos for his campaign.
Phillips said in an interview that she told Saunders that the feelings towards gun control would change and you should change your stance now, not later. He did not listen and chose the later.
Watts told NBC news that among the 2020 Democratic candidates, Sanders has not reached out to the organization asking for volunteers to speak and help out at local campaign events. She said, “I do not think Sanders has ever explained why gun control is not on his priority list” when asked about the candidate’s changing position on issues related to gun control.
In 1993 Sanders repeatedly voted against the Brady Bill, which created a system for national background checks. In December 2015, after he announced he was running for President, Sanders urged that funding should be put into researching injuries related to firearms. He opposed it in the 90s.
In an interview with CNN in July 2015, Sanders defended his vote supporting not holding gun manufacturers liable for mass shootings. He said it would be the same as holding the manufacturer of a hammer responsible if someone misuses it.
In a primary debate on March 6, 2016, Sanders said if a gun manufacturer sells a gun under a circumstance which would be considered suspicious, should be held liable. The NRA was praised by the NRA on Twitter saying Sanders comments were “spot on.”
Written by Barbara Sobel
NBC News: Sanders’ gun votes are again a potential liability among Democratic base
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