I have often been called a Bernie Sanders look-alike, which I dispute. First I have more hair than he does, and mine is not totally white. True we both wear glasses, but I bet mine are way cooler than his are. Also we do share the same first initial and nearly the same last name. So, in that spirit I feel I can speak for Bernie when there are things to say that he is reticent to lay out just a little more clearly.
The very first Democratic debate featured both Hillary Clinton and Martin O’Malley attacking Sanders record on gun control. One week later, Sanders addressed a gathering of Vermont NRA members and Brooklyn gang members. This meeting was held on neutral territory in a New Hampshire Maple Syrup plant.
Last week two of my Democratic opponents challenged my record on the subject of ‘gun control’. As my constituents here are well aware, I have supported their desire to have access to guns and rifles used for hunting and personal safety. I have shown that support to them by voting on numerous occasions against the Brady Bill. [NRA members applaud] But also with respect to our friends from my birth place, Brooklyn; I have consistently supported bans on weapons that are usually classified as assault weapons. By keeping those types of weapons off the streets disagreements are more likely to be settled in a manner resulting in far fewer deaths on both sides. [clapping from gang members] Additionally, once instant background checks were added into the Brady Bill, I consistently voted for it. [Boos from NRA members] With an instant background check we decrease the number of guns sold to individuals with criminal records of gun violence [boos from gang members] and those that present a danger to everyone due to a mental problem. [applause from everyone]
Today, what I want to tell you is that I agree with Secretary Clinton’s agenda on gun control. I remain steadfast in demanding instant background checks, banning assault weapons, and I will be glad to vote ‘yes’ on a bill that will require gun manufacturer’s to include additional safety features. Yes, this is a change in a position I had on that type of legislation, but my position was based on other provisions in the bill that I was not happy with. Just to be clear, on the issue of guns, the differences between Secretary Clinton and myself are paper-thin. If some of my views have changed since the horror of Newtown, then events can change my mind, just as the success of same-sex marriage such as we have right here in NH allowed the Secretary to change her stance.
Both the NRA and the gang members left through separate doors. Most of the Brooklyn people bought Bernie T-shirts and buttons. The NRA members went looking for Trump headquarters.
Suggested Debate point (never used)
Madame Secretary, may I point out that you have altered your position on marriage equality; I would say that my evolution to a nearly identical position as yours on guns was a considerably smaller change. Your challenge to me on the issue of gun control is effectively a moot point, lets discuss the issues we differ on.