Biden: Sanders Voted to Shield Gun Manufacturers from Liability

By Melanie Arter | February 21, 2020 | 11:48am EST
(Photo by MARK RALSTON/AFP via Getty Images)
(Photo by MARK RALSTON/AFP via Getty Images)

( – Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) voted against allowing gun manufacturers to be sued for the carnage caused by the weapons they make, former Vice President Joe Biden said Thursday during CNN’s presidential town hall.

Biden said Sanders voted “to exempt gun manufacturers from any liability, zero.” He said gun manufacturers are “the only industry in America that is not able to be sued.”


CNN’s Anderson Cooper asked, “Let me ask you about something you talked about earlier today. You delivered very emotional remarks today about gun violence. We're obviously in Las Vegas, the site of the deadliest mass shooting in American history. You attacked Bernie Sanders's voting record on gun legislation. You acknowledged that Sanders has changed his views, but has he done enough?”

Biden: Look, it's not so much what you say you believe now. It's what did you do, and when did you do it. And the fact is Bernie has had a very different record than me for a long time. For example, I'm the guy that as chairman of the Judiciary Committee worked to pass very difficult legislation - the Brady bill that had background checks as well as waiting periods. Bernie when he was running for the Senate in Vermont, he said it was tough state to run in. He voted against it five times in the House of Representatives. Guess what? We've kept over 5 million people from being able to get weapons that they should not have been able to get. How many lives has that saved? 

Secondly, the one thing that I am most upset about is-- I met with, as you know, Anderson, I've met with every family, virtually every family up in Connecticut when those kids were just slaughtered in school, and then also down in Florida when they came up to Washington. I was out of office at the time, but I met with them. They were petitioning members of the Congress to change the law with regard to assault weapons and the like, and I made a commitment, and I mean it. I made a commitment that I'll do everything in my power in office or out of office to get those assault weapons off the street, which I've done once already and to get those clips that have multiple bullets in them not for sale, not be able to sell silencers, all those things. 

And here's what happened. The only industry -- how about if I stood before you all today and if you were undecided, thinking about voting for whomever, me in this case, how about if I said by the way - you can roll your eyes, it's okay. I'm not suggesting you have to vote for me - but what I'm saying is how about if I said to you, you know what? Drug companies should be immune from being able to be sued. They put out 9 billion opioid pills in a matter of years, but they shouldn't be able to be sued. 

They misled advertising on television, saying that you in fact can get – they don’t point out you can get hooked in five days on everything from the -- that they advertised. And I said but we can't sue them. How about I said that about the Tobacco companies? I said we shouldn't be able to sue the tobacco companies when they're misleading about how it caused cancer and the like. Or the oil companies that are out there polluting the ground, but guess what? The only industry in America that is not able to be sued are the gun manufacturers. 

Now Bernie talks about my record. It's appropriate. I'm not being mean. He voted to exempt gun manufacturers from any liability, zero. They can't be sued. And I tell you what, I'm not joking. I've sat there and looked in the eyes of those parents, as recently as today, talking about their kids and how they died, and they died at the hands of -- why can't we sue these manufacturers for advertising, for misleading, for glorifying, for promoting this God awful -- you know how many people have died since 2007 of murder with guns? Three times as many people have died in the Vietnam War and every war since. Three times as many. 150,000 murders. 150,000 murders. Those lives have crushed families. 

I was on the phone on the second anniversary of Fred Guttenberg down in Florida. He’s the guy who lost his daughter. I just call him because I know what it's like to lose a daughter, lose a son. Guess what? He’s devoted his whole life to try to make sure. And all they want, let me sue these guys who have done this stuff, this carnage on the street. Look at the people here in the greatest mass shooting in American history, the worst mass shooting at Mandalay Bay. 

A guy has 12 assault weapons with bump stocks, which means you can fire it faster. You can pull the trigger faster. And 100 rounds. Why in God's name should anyone, anyone, anyone be able to own that? It's just wrong, and we've got to -- and I promise you as president, I am going to get these guys. I want let them know, promise you. I'm the only guy that has beaten the gun manufacturers. I'm the only guy that has beaten the NRA nationally, and I did it twice, nationally. And gun manufacturers, I'm coming for you. Period. 


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