Bernie Sanders
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., speaks at a campaign event at the SEA/ SEIU Union Hall, Saturday, Feb. 8, 2020, in Concord, N.H. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
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By Larry Keane

Presidential contender U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders is either straight-out lying, ignorant or seriously uninformed about gun laws in the United States. None of these is a viable qualification to set policy on America’s right to keep and bear arms.

Sen. Sanders (I-Vt.) answered questions at a CNN town hall event just prior to the South Carolina debate and primary about how his proposed administration would tackle the criminal misuse of firearms. He immediately pivoted to gun control talking points that have no foundational truth. Sen. Sanders laid out his attack on Second Amendment rights in a five-part plan. 

Criminals Already Prohibited

“Number one, we need universal background checks,” Sen. Sanders said. “People who have a violent past, including domestic violence should not be owning guns.”

The Vermont senator clearly glosses over what is already standing law. Individuals who have been convicted of violent felonies and domestic violence crimes are already prohibited individuals.

The background check Form 4473, which is required to the purchase of a firearm at retail, asks the individual if they are under indictment or have been convicted of a felony for which a judge could imprison that person for more than a year. It’s questions 11 (b) and (c). Answering yes to either of these questions is an automatic disqualifier.

If someone lies on that answer, it’s also a federal crime and if they are indicted or convicted, the background check run through the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) will come back with a denial to the federal firearms licensee, which immediately halts the sale. 

Nonexistent Gun Show Loopholes

“Number two, we have got to end the so-called gun show loophole which allows people to legally purchase guns while avoiding a background check,” Sen. Sanders said.

This is a fallacy. The “gun show loophole” is a gun control talking point that has no basis in fact.

Licensed firearms retailers that sell guns at gun shows are required to run background checks the same way it happens in a store. The person buying the firearm must complete the background check form, then the firearms retailer verifies with the FBI’s NICS that the individual is not prohibited.

“Unlicensed dealers” selling is a euphemism for criminals. If someone is “engaged in the business” of selling firearms, they must be licensed and regulated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. That means maintaining detailed records, abiding by all applicable federal and state laws and regulations and being prepared for ATF inspection. If someone is selling firearms for a living without doing this, they are criminals, plain and simple.

NSSF’s Don’t Lie Campaign

“Number three, we’ve got to end the so-called strawman provision which allows you to legally walk in, buy as many guns as you want and sell them to gangs and criminal elements,” Sen. Sanders added.

This one is out of left field, where apparently the senator gathers his gun control ideas. Someone who attempts to buy a firearm for another who is unable to pass the required federal background check, or does not want his or her full name associated with the purchase, is committing a crime.

This is a felony, punishable by 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. NSSF, as the firearms and ammunition industry’s trade association, partnered with the ATF to combat this and funds retailer education seminars to identify the signs of a potential straw purchase and stop it in its tracks.

NSSF also funds its Don’t Lie for the Other Guy campaigns with retailers and law enforcement to remind the public of the dangers and consequences of this crime.

Aside from the crime of buying a firearm for someone who isn’t the true recipient, anyone passing along a gun to a known criminal is committing another felony. Sen. Sanders said he wants this to be against the law, but he should know, as a federal lawmaker, that this is already the case.

Ban MSRs

“Number four, what we have got to do and something I have supported for like 30 years, is ban the sale and distribution of assault weapons in this country,” Sen Sanders said.

Again, this is already against the law. Any automatic firearm made after 1986 cannot be sold to the general public, as outlined in the Firearms Owners Protection Act of 1986. Those made prior to 1986 are available but require extensive additional background checks, including fingerprinting and registration with the ATF. They are also prohibitively expensive because they’re so rare.

What Sen. Sanders is really calling for is a ban on the sale of modern sporting rifles, which are semiautomatic rifles. They’re the most popular selling centerfire rifle on the market today.

More than 17.7 million of these rifles are in circulation, making them commonly owned. Sen. Sanders wants a ban on technology that is more than 100 years old and would jeopardize the Second Amendment rights of all Americans to purchase the firearms of their choosing to self-defense, hunting and recreational shooting.

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  1. It’s called bullshitting. He’s saying whatever he thinks will resonate with his audience. He doesn’t know if it’s true, and he doesn’t care. It’s pretty much the core of a politician’s skill set.

  2. Well yeah, of course Sanders lies. He’s a socialist, and they all deny any fault for the tens of millions of people that they’re policies have killed. It’s always someones else fault.

    • He’s a politician. Regardless of party, those who seek the authority or power over another or group of others are ever hardly trustworthy and should be heavily scrutinized (their words and actions).

      It’s a catch 22; the best-suited for office are those who do not want the responsibility of it, nor delight in any positions of power.

      Being a politician as a profession is just as stupid as being a juror as a profession.

  3. bernie is a Socialist/Marxist/Commie. he needs to be deported to a socialist country of his choosing. He should shoved out of the aircraft once it’s over the socialist country of his choosing, preferably @ 38,000 ft.
    He has no place in the USA. I despise that SOB

  4. ‘Member when Bernie was supposed to be the “cool” candidate on guns, because he’s from Vermont and wouldn’t be a single-minded grabber?

    Democrats are all the same, they all want the same thing, some just work harder on lying about it than others.

  5. I can still hear the words of Ronald Reagan:
    “Freedom is a fragile thing and is never more than one generation away from extinction. It is not ours by inheritance; it must be fought for and defended constantly by each generation, for it comes only once to a people. Those who have known freedom and then lost it have never known it again.”

    Bernie knows exactly what he is doing.

  6. Unfortunately I’m familuar with the Communist cork sucker and he’s possible of all three but lying or lying by omission is his forte.
    After all he is the Burnmeister !

  7. Sanders is ILL-INFORMED and being influenced by gun grabbers on all sides.

    The 2A community needs to put on a concerted effort to inform him of the FACTS at every turn.

    He is being fed lies by his peers, his underling and by anti-2A lobbyists banging at his door every day.

    We need to be banging on his door every day and countering the bad information he is being fed.

    He once made reasonable choices on 2A. He can again with our help.

  8. So this article – authored by someone going by the moniker “TTAG Contributor” – is referring to ARs as modern sporting rifles, taking from the NRA’s playbook. True, some models are designed for sport, but most are owned for defense and protection from possible personal attack or government tyranny.

    Don’t water down the gun’s name to play tap-dance with gun control advocates.

    • I tend to agree – “MSR” is the Fudded translation of “AR-15” into some cutesy, fuzzy sounding name supposedly palatable to fence sitters. Unfortunately, the same gun enthusiasts with “The Second Amendment isn’t about duck hunting” bumper stickers seem to embrace the MSR euphemism. Unless hunting enemies, foreign and domestic can be classified as “sport”, that acronym actually does the weapon a disservice.

      And to Mack the Knife, in what way is Haz an idiot for pointing that out, and why does your bold statement require no explanation?

    • Well, brain surgeon, AR is an abreviation for Armalite Rifle, which is used by anti-gun people to besmirch a whole class of firearms, predominantly used for sporting purposes, i.e. target shooting, competition, and plinking. MSR is a correct term for a rifle of this design, and using the AR to describe it, infringes on the Armalite brand name. Of course if you are too stupid to know this, well…. join the other Bernie bros!

  9. But the Bernie Bro who canvassed my street on primary eve promised me Bernie was a pro gun candidate.

  10. There was a time when Donald Trump supported open borders and Bernie would have been fine with the Wall. I think Bernie is like all commies. Lie to peeps to gain power. The peeps he is interested in want open borders and guns grabbed.

    • Biden is even worse….getting all preachy these days…and using gun control as a talking point against Bernie…this was probably an attempt to take some of the heat off….

  11. I’m a lifelong Floridian and we have enjoyed relatively permissive gun laws for my entire adult life up until the past year or so when we lost binary triggers and that recent bill passed the house for background checks. The binary trigger was deeply upsetting to me because I was ready to purchase one when the law went through but the background checks which have not become law yet are even more troubling in my mind for the precedent they set. In the few dozen gun shows and shops I have gone to in looking for another firearm, nobody has ever offered me a “loophole” and I ALWAYS ask because private sales are legal here in most cases and I would rather have no record of my purchase in the event of the country going nuts on guns.

    EVERY. SINGLE. TIME, The seller has said no.

    I have privately sold to friends who I have verified are not felons even though it is not a requirement to do so, and only one of them made me regret it. He left the Glock in his car and it was stolen without him noticing for almost two weeks. I promptly went to the police station and submitted our duly-signed sale paperwork so it was recorded that it left my possession before being stolen from him. After that, I was even more cautious in approaching any private sale for my own safety. I tend to prefer new registered components so I know their history, but it places all eyes on me if that serial number ever shows up in an investigation.

    I sold a similar Glock to a random old (seemingly drunk) guy with a booth full of N@z! memorabilia displayed in broad daylight at a show because he was a licensed FFL and dumb enough to pay almost 3x more than anyone else was offering for a butchered polymer lower I used to break into my cars windows like a total dumbass in the Everglades. EVEN HE made me go through an official transfer to ensure it was not a stolen firearm he was taking possession of.

    Our new impending law is WORTHLESS because any gun privately sold prior to the law taking effect can change hands forever onward without paperwork, making it generally IMPOSSIBLE to prove when the firearm changed owners. Like almost all gun control, there is no going back on the past several decades which makes any new law largely pointless. It only affects the law abiding, criminals have too many perfectly functional options at their disposal.

    As an example of my long-winded point, customer 1 legally transfers a firearm into their possession. At some point after that date, they privately sell to another individual. No paperwork, no signature, no transfer as our laws allow. The gun is then sold to another 100 people after that time. At some point in the hundred, the universal background check goes into effect. Owner 101 is found to possess the firearm after the new law and no record of transfer is found. All he has to say is he bought it from a nameless stranger prior to the law taking effect and he is free and clear. How do these people honestly expect this to improve our citizens safety.

    These laws are a joke and the people writing them know it! They just don’t care because it furthers their own goals.

    Stay strong brothers and bury plenty in the woods.

    • If I have to bury my guns I’ll just go ahead and hand em over . Why bury them? If you don’t use them at that time then honestly your never going to have enough Cajones to ever use them

        • Charge the redcoat line in broad daylight all you want. Who am I to tell you your plan is shortsightrf and I am a giant pussy?!

          My point was that if our next president makes stupid gun control a reality, soldiers start going door to door, you can defend your homestead against a clearly superior force all you want and I wish everyone attempting this the best. On the other hand is burying prohibited arms without resorting to liberally applied cosmoline kar9k’s. Rubber cemented widebore PVC tubes with proper equipment vacuum sealed inside seem much more useful to me in the long run. I’d rather plead boating accident robberies at the time of private sale and recover what I need after, but that’s just my take on this hopefully never possibility.

          I’ve been a lifelong democrat until like 2017 when I had to decide between an idiot (my opinion) who is generally OK with guns and smarter, more progressive candidates who are forced to plead gun control to win voters in their bloq. Trump tariffs have only made my business less profitable, haven’t affected our tax rates positively, haven’t solved Korean nuclear war, Iran is still fucked, the middle east is still fucked. America largely doesn’t like him. He says dumb shit publicly on an almost daily basis. Represents almost everything I disagree with, but will likely still get my vote because he seems least likely to come after my rights like these democratic “frontrunners” I’d rather the world go to hell with my guns, than possibly improve slightly without my guns.

          Let the pro-Trump hate flow in to me! If you try hard enough, I will spontaneously change my deeply held political views.

  12. “Bernie is Either Ignorant, Uninformed, or Lying About Gun Laws in the U.S.”

    Obviously all three. On purpose.

  13. The Jew In Name Only, Bernie Sanders is just as dangerous as the early Adolf Hitler. Ya that’s right I said it. They both had ill informed young followers. Many willing to commit violence against their opponents. And both want to confiscate guns and disarm the civilian population.
    That is what a democrat socialist does. Same for a National or International socialist.

    And many people just can’t bring themselves to say this about an american jewish person.

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