Despite telling CNN debate moderator Wolf Blitzer last night that recent comments she has made about the number of guns from Vermont and recovered in New York were not a condemnation of the Green Mountain State or Sen. Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton’s campaign was busy telling the press that there is linkage between the two.
Blitzer asked Clinton, “Are you seriously blaming Vermont and implicitly Senator Sanders for New York’s gun violence?” The former U.S. secretary of state and senator replied, “No, of course not. Of course not.”
Even so, Clinton’s campaign was sending out a memo during the debate bearing the headline: “Vermont was #1 per-capita source for guns recovered at New York crime scenes.” The memo reads, “Sanders often says that gun laws should differ between rural and urban communities, but he doesn’t acknowledge that other states are impacted by weak gun laws in states like Vermont.” It added, “And Sanders’ gun record in Congress doesn’t just affect Vermont — it has national implications.”
Clinton had gone on the offensive last week during a meeting behind closed doors with New York legislators and lobbyists. According to reports, she initially claimed that “many” guns recovered in New York come from Vermont, which has relatively relaxed gun control laws. However, media reports show that of 7,686 firearms recovered and traced in New York in 2014, only 55 were first purchased in Vermont. In comparison, 371 came from Pennsylvania.
Clinton then changed tactics by saying that Vermont leads the U.S. in terms of exported “crime guns” per capita. But per capita statistics is of little use since Vermont is one of the least populated states in the union.
During the debate last night, Sanders pointed out that Clinton never answered why she had implied that Sanders and Vermont are somehow culpable for crime in New York. “The only problem is, Wolf, she didn’t answer your question,” Sanders said. “You asked her whether she thought that Vermont was responsible for a lot of the gun violence. You made the point what she said was totally absurd.” He added, “Why did she put out that statement?”
Sanders even pointed out that Gov. Peter Shumlin of Vermont, who supports Clinton, has denied the link Clinton has sought to make. Last week, Shulim said, “It is campaign season, therefore, things are sometimes said by all the candidates that sometimes aren’t entirely accurate.”
Gun control is one of few issues where Clinton appears to be on Sanders’ left. She has vowed to seek a change in the law that limits the liability gun makers and sellers, thus allowing law suits to be leveled for criminal gun deaths. This week, Clinton approved of a decision a Connecticut judge made that allows a lawsuit to advance against the manufacturer of Bushmaster rifles, Remington, a gun distributor and a gun shop. The families of 10 victims of the December 2013 Sandy Hook mass murder are seeking damages in the suit. See Spero News
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