CHARLESTON, South Carolina — Bernie Sanders said Saturday night he supports repealing a 2005 bill he voted for that has been at the center of gun control-centered attacks on Sanders by Hillary Clinton.
Rep. Adam Schiff, one of the Democrats behind the new bill to repeal the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA), said Sanders’s backing of the bill puts him among those trying to correct a “serious mistake.”
“I welcome support from anyone in Congress who now recognizes the need to repeal the immunity Congress granted the gun industry in 2005,” Schiff told BuzzFeed News. “PLCAA was a serious mistake and has done tremendous damage to efforts to secure responsible business practices in the gun industry, and to reduce gun violence.”
Schiff has endorsed Clinton and is supporting her bid for the Democratic nomination.
Over the past several months, Sanders has repeatedly said he’d revisit his 2005 vote for the PLCAA, which protects gun manufacturers from most lawsuits designed to hold them liable for gun deaths. Clinton’s campaign has said that the 2005 vote shows Sanders is too close to the gun-rights crowd for a Democratic primary.
Sanders has said his votes on gun control legislation differ from many progressives because he hails from Vermont, a state wary of regulations on firearms. He backs an assault weapons ban and touts his low rating from the NRA when saying there is no real distance between him and President Obama on guns.
The 2005 PLCAA vote, Sanders said, was cast over concerns that small business gun stores would be driven out of business by lawsuits. His support for the repeal bill comes with a demand: that an amendment be added to monitor how repeal affects what his proposed text describes as “rural mom and pop hunting stores.”
“I’m pleased to support the legislation and should it come up for consideration I would work to make sure it includes a provision that allows us to monitor its impact so that we may determine if it is having any unintended consequences,” Sanders said in a statement.
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