Sanders Votes for Background Checks, Assault Weapons Ban

WASHINGTON, April 17 – Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) today voted for expanded background checks on gun buyers and for a ban on assault weapons but the Senate rejected those central planks of legislation inspired by the shootings of 20 first-grade students and six teachers in Newtown, Conn.

“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,” Sanders said. “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. I 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,” Sanders added.  

The amendment on expanded background checks needed 60 votes to pass but only 54 senators voted for it. “To my mind it makes common sense to keep these weapons out of the hands of people with criminal records or mental health histories,” Sanders said.

Under current federal law, background checks are not performed for tens of thousands of sales – up to 40 percent of all gun transfers – at gun shows or over the Internet. The amendment would have required background checks for all gun sales in commercial settings regardless of whether the seller is a licensed dealer. The compromise proposal would have exempted sales between “family, friends, and neighbors.”

In a separate vote, the Senate rejected a proposal to ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines. The assault weapons ban was backed by 40 senators and opposed by 60 senators. 

Sanders also planned to support an amendment that would improve mental health services.

 Contact: Michael Briggs (202) 224-5141

Comments | 1

  • The Senate has shown it's

    The Senate has shown it’s nasty face of corporate and lobby controlled ideology once again. I thank our Senator for once again standing up against this seemingly disconnected Senate and all the other Senators who have stood up against the majority of disconnected Senators. Our country seems to be less about the wishes of the people and more about where they can get more money and perks from.

    I am in favor of limiting access to weapons and establishing a line of what is appropriate weapons for people to have access too. The argument about the bill limiting our civil rights is bull. There are already limits to weapons a United States citizen can have. I can not have a anti aircraft weapon nor a missile in my possession, that is a violation of my rights or at least a limitation to my rights.. We as a country will never be able to stop all the violent acts of other citizens yet if we are able to deter or make it more of an effort for people to get access to these weapons made to kill many in a short period of time then it might just save one life. One life saved is worth limitations to my civil rights.

    Thank you again Senator Sanders and thank you “Not Signed” for this article.

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