- Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images
- Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders had a heated exchange with Rachel Maddow at the Democratic debate on Thursday night.
- Maddow, who served as a moderator of the debate, asked Sanders about a comment he had made about gun control.
- Sanders said the statement was a “mischaracterization,” but Maddow responded that it was a direct quote.
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MSNBC anchor Rachel Maddow called out Sen. Bernie Sanders when he tried to downplay a past statement he made on gun control at Thursday night’s Democratic debate.
Maddow, who was one of the moderators during the debate, asked the senator about a quote he gave Vermont alt-weekly newspaper Seven Days in 2013, on gun control. While the original story paraphrased Sanders’ position, they recently published the quote in full, in which he said: “My own view on guns is: Everything being equal, states should make those decisions.”
Maddow asked whether Sanders’ view on the issue had changed since 2013, or whether he thinks “there’s a federal role to play.”
Rachel Maddow: A "newspaper recently released portions of an interview you gave …'My own view on guns is, everything being equal, states should make those decisions.'"
Bernie Sanders: "That's a mischaracterization of my thinking."
— MSNBC (@MSNBC) June 28, 2019
Sanders started off his answer by saying: “That’s a mischaracterization of my thinking.”
Maddow quickly shot back “It’s a quote of you.”
Despite being one of the more progressive candidates running for the Democratic party’s nomination, Sanders has often been criticized for his history on gun control.
When he first ran for the House of Representatives in 1988, he supported an assault rifle ban and lost. He blamed his loss on his support of the ban in a mostly rural state where hunting is popular.
Once he was finally elected to Congress, he swung the other way on the issue and has been haunted by voting against the Brady Act, which set up federal background checks for gun buyers, and later in favor of a bill that shielded gun companies from lawsuits.
But after announcing he was running for president for a second time this year, Sanders has gone back to his original position. In his campaign announcement video, he said: “We need to take on the NRA, expand background checks, end the gun show loophole, and ban the sale and distribution of assault weapons.”
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