By: José Niño
Gun control oligarch Michael Bloomberg recently attacked Democratic presidential contender Bernie Sanders in a campaign ad over the Vermont Senator’s past opposition to several gun control bills.
On Twitter, Bloomberg posted:
“The NRA paved the road to Washington for Bernie Sanders. He spent the next three decades making sure they got a return on their investment. We deserve a president who is not beholden to the gun lobby.#NotMeNRA.”
The genesis of these critiques involves the National Rifle Association’s original endorsement of Sanders in his race against Republican congressman Peter Smith for Vermont’s at-large congressional district in 1990. It’s pretty rich for a billionaire to be talking about the transactional nature of Sanders’ politics. Bloomberg has made sure to buy out Democrats during his current run in the 2020 primaries. Bloomberg plans to spend nearly $10 million in Texas alone in order to prop up gun-grabbing candidates.
Although Sanders has signaled his support for gun control schemes such as “assault weapons” bans, Bloomberg insists that Sanders is “beholden to the gun lobby” due to Sanders’ votes against the Brady Act in 1993 and his vote for the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act in 2005. The former set up the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, while the latter protected gun dealers and manufactures against frivolous lawsuits. Sanders’ deviationist voting record has caught the attention of radical gun controllers within the Democratic Party who are now wanting to impose strict purity tests on anti-gun legislative action. The Vermont Senator was by no means a pro-gun champion, but his divergences have earned him increasing degrees of criticism from his rivals both in 2016 and 2020.
“When it really mattered, Senator Sanders voted with the gun lobby and I voted against the gun lobby,” Clinton said at an Iowa forum. “I’ve raised this issue before, standing next to Senator Sanders. He’s refused to give a straight answer.”
Clinton was referring to Sanders’ previous vote for the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms.
One wonders how could Sanders, an outspoken socialist, have a record of actually voting for pro-gun policy? The political dynamics of the state he has represented —Vermont — explains his occasional pro-gun votes in the past. Historically speaking, Vermont was one of the most pro-gun states in the country. This is a state that established the first Constitutional Carry policy in 1903 after the State Supreme Court decided in the case State v. Rosenthal that the city of Rutland’s ordinance which prohibited the carry of a firearm without a permit was unconstitutional.
It should be noted that Vermont’s politics have been changing for the worst in recent years, According to Guns & Ammo magazine, Vermont was ranked 20th for best states for gun owners in 2017. However, the state has gone in an anti-gun direction after Vermont Governor Phil Scott signed a number of gun control bills that contained universal background check language, red flag confiscation orders, and magazine capacity restrictions. None of Vermont’s shift towards gun-grabbing occurred in a vacuum though. Due to the changing political dynamic that has occurred since the Parkland massacre of 2018, states like Vermont have experienced noticeable changes in gun policy.
Sanders has now clearly shifted to the Left on the issue of guns thanks to the attacks launched against him and the overall political zeitgeist that has transformed the Democratic Party. With the thorough radicalization that the Left has promoted, any Democrats like Sanders who have lagged behind on some issues like gun rights, have thoroughly caught up with the times. According to a Pew Research study released in 2019, 86 percent of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents support gun control. In a distant past, Sanders may have had to make concessions on gun issues due to the previous pro-gun background of his state. But now, with the Democrat Party becoming more leftist on practically every issue that matters, Second Amendment rights included, he must adjust to this political reality.
In any case, the differences between Bloomberg and Sanders on gun issues are minimal at best. It’s time to call a spade a spade, the 21st century iteration of the Democrat Party is no place for gun owners to make their political home in.
José Niño is a Venezuelan-American political activist writing from Fort Collins, Colorado. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.