Bernie Sanders changes tone on guns amid mass shooting fallout

Just days after a mass shooting occurred at Virginia Beach, Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders harshly criticized the National Rifle Association and called for more gun control. But some of his latest comments run contrary to statements he’s made in the past.

According to Virginia Beach officials, on May 31 a shooter identified as 40-year-old city employee DeWayne Craddock shot and killed 12 people at the city’s municipal center. Eleven of the dead were city employees and one was a contractor. Craddock was killed in a subsequent shootout with police.

Sanders wasted little time in posting a political comment on Twitter. “The days of the NRA controlling Congress and writing our gun laws must end,” he tweeted, adding that Congress must “pass gun safety legislation.”

Two days later he said there’s “no middle ground” on the issue of gun safety.

Sanders’ new no-compromise approach to gun control contradicts statements he has made in past interviews on this subject.

Speaking in a 2015 interview with CNN, he said, “Folks who do not like guns [are] fine. But we have millions of people who are gun owners in this country — 99.9 percent of those people obey the law. I want to see real, serious debate and action on guns, but it is not going to take place if we simply have extreme positions on both sides. I think I can bring us to the middle.”

Also in the past, Sanders has proposed alternative approaches to addressing mass shootings, such as addressing the nation’s mental health issues.

“Nobody believes that gun control by itself is going to end the horrors we have seen in Newtown, Conn., Aurora, Colo., Blacksburg, Va., Tucson, Ariz. and other American communities,” he said in a 2013 statement released on his U.S. Senate page.

“There is a growing consensus, however, in Vermont and across America that we have got to do as much as we can to end the cold-blooded, mass murders of innocent people believe very strongly that we also have got to address the mental health crisis in our country and make certain that help is available for people who may be a danger to themselves and others,” he said.

In a 2015 interview with NPR, he urged respect for rural America and its law-abiding gun owners.

“I think that urban America has got to respect what rural America is about, where 99 percent of the people in my state who hunt are law-abiding people,” he said.

The Sanders 2020 campaign did not respond to a request for comment Tuesday.

Bill Moore, a firearms policy analyst with the Vermont Traditions Coalition, told True North that Sanders’ position is “pure hypocrisy.” Moore worked on the 1988 U.S. House campaign for Paul Poirier against Sanders, so he remembers the early Sanders position on guns.

“Bernie in the early days would take a hands-off approach to gun control because he was running as a House member for Vermont — it was just a convenience. Howard Dean used to take a hands-off approach when he was governor as far as gun control in Vermont, but of course the handwriting is on the wall when you try to go to Washington. They immediately take a national position, which is to pander to the deep-base of their party.”

Moore says Sanders may have taken a moderate approach in his rhetoric during his 2016 presidential race, but that his gun rating from the NRA was poor — Sanders received a D-minus in 2012 and an F in 2018.

“I think maybe it’s possible that in 2016 he moderated his stance slightly because he was trying to run towards the middle in a small field, but now that he’s in a large field he needs to distinguish himself with the left,” Moore said. “So if his position has seemed to change, I think it’s only in his stump speeches. If you look at his early positions, you won’t find a great deal of change.”

Earlier in the year, Sanders posted about having the U.S. imitate New Zealand’s strict gun laws, which include bans on many semiautomatic guns, shotguns, and standard capacity magazines. His comments received a fair amount of backlash, too.

Sanders’ post also spurred debate about whether semiautomatic weapons are necessary in American society. “Semiautomatic” means the shooter gets one shot for each pull of the trigger.

Michael Bielawski is a reporter for True North Reports. Send him news tips at and follow him on Twitter @TrueNorthMikeB.

Image courtesy of U.S. Navy

11 thoughts on “Bernie Sanders changes tone on guns amid mass shooting fallout

  1. One person commits commit deadly crime with guns. Presumed innocent, gets free lawyer, long two years before trial, pleads insanity (the exact nature of the crime), no trial – See Burlington’s 3 murderers never charged.

    200,000,000 gun owners with multiple guns are found guilty of NOTHING – without a trial, with threats to have our doors knocked in to confiscate all of our peaceful and unfired guns.

    Liberal Justice!!!!!!

  2. “Criminals behind bars should have the right to vote in state and federal elections, including mass-murderers”, according to Bermie.

    Should we have a whole new bureaucracy to determine which egregious criminals should be allowed to vote?

    The idiocy of it all is beyond belief.

    This is only one aspect of his destructive, weird, Socialist mindset that is highly un-American.

    Would you believe that entity is running for president and has a following of like-minded fools?

    What about the 20 plus million illegal, undocumented alien criminals?

    Let them run freely around the country?
    Let them take off-the-books jobs, pay minimal or no taxes?
    Let them live off government programs paid for by US taxpayers.
    Reward them some more and have them vote too?

    We need a wall 30 ft tall from ocean to ocean.

    We need 25% imports duties on all Mexican exports, until illegals are near zero.

    We need iIllegals to stop sending $30 billion PER YEAR in payments to their relatives in Mexico, who would be on welfare.

    That $30 billion is in addition to the $100 billion trade deficit with Mexico.

    The enriched Mexican elites should take care of its own welfare cases, instead of sending people to the US to work off-the-books and send their mostly untaxed earnings back to Mexico.

    • “Criminals behind bars should have the right to vote in state and federal elections, including mass-murderers”, according to Bermie.

      Burnardo is taking a play right out of Hitlers playbook. While Hitler used them for his Army,
      burnee want’s to use them for his vote, and support of disarming their future victims..

  3. “Jane and I are grieving for the victims in Virginia Beach and their families.”

    “The days of the NRA controlling Congress and writing our gun laws must end. Congress must listen to the American people and pass gun safety legislation. This sickening gun violence must stop.’

    For the Burnmeister’s form of Marxism to succeed the Prohibition of civilian held firearms must occur,why or how any Vermonter could have ever or would have ever voted for this Marxist boggles the mind.

  4. If Bernie feels so strongly about this, he should ask his security guards to turn in their firearms. As usual, Bernie’s hypocritical policies are always for the other guy.

  5. The liberal/socialists view the NRA as the largest obstruction to their desire to ban the possession of all firearms. They will never give up on demonizing them. The NRA and the NSSF are two of the greatest defenders of the 2nd Amendment and we all owe them much gratitude.

    • “The NRA and the NSSF are two of the greatest defenders of the 2nd”

      Not only that but also the biggest promoters of Education on Gun Safety. As for burnee’s
      loving the NZ method of making guns illegal he might want to read up on the fact that
      only a bit over 800 have been turned in. Same as here the rest are waiting for some “official”
      to come and get them.. bullets first with out the brass.

  6. Socialist Sanders, will jump on any bandwagon in order to get a vote and this is just
    another one of his BS remarks, a man that lives in one of the safest states in the US
    but he going with the flow………….He’s running for President…….yeah !!

    What amazes me, are the fools that follow this buffoon, yes they live in our state !!

  7. I have a ‘No Compromise’ attitude on all the BS ‘gun safety’ legislation – I intend to ignore all of it. I will buy or sell my private property any time I choose. I will purchase regular capacity magazines in any free state that sells them and bring them to my private property. I will never register any firearm I may or may not own. No politician can force me to give up the rights my ancestors fought for.

  8. Exactly what new law could have prevented this shooting by a legal gun owner you
    old commie fool? What commi sense gun law are you talk out your azz about??
    brunee like his fellow fool from NJ Spartacus booger are devoid of an answer when
    that question is asked. burnee knows to get to true socialism power he’d have
    to have the guns removed like his hero’s murado, hitler, mussolini, pol pot, stalin did.
    This only shows the need for legal Conceal Carry nationwide uninhibited.. A good
    guy with a gun will stop a shooter 15-30 min before the cops get there.

  9. It’s go for broke, all these NWO Prssc are backed by the United Nations and their cozy ideas of world domination….

    They are all selling our country and our state for power, fame and money. Complete and utter losers of such epic proportions it’s mind boggling.

    Here’s a hint Bernie, the NRA didn’t write the second amendment, unlike all the losers in our government who fail to do their job, which is to defend the republic and our constitution…..the NRA has to pick up your sorry butt, because you aren’t doing your job.

    So many are in utter panic, they have committed serious offenses, if they don’t flip our country to democratic socialism this election, many will be in jail for their actions in 2016. Yeah it’s going to get really crazy…’ll be like corner a rabid pack of dogs…the propaganda is going to be epic, epic.

Comments are closed.