Bernie Sanders' Responds To Hillary Clinton's Gun Control Attacks With A Fiery Comeback

During the fourth Democratic presidential debate on Sunday, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders responded to Hillary Clinton's gun control attacks, insisting it was "disingenuous" for her to characterize him as an ally of the NRA. The moment came right near the top of the evening's showdown, and it set the tone for a slightly more confrontational, rambunctious affair. When Sanders was asked by NBC moderator Lester Holt about Clinton's attacks on his record on guns ― he's previous voted against the Brady bill on five separate occasions, as well as voting for a bill in 2005 that shielded gun manufacturers from legal liability relating to gun crimes.

The latter issue has been a particular thorn in his side lately, which is underscored by him reversing-course on it in recent days, saying he'd look at possible revisions or reforms to that policy. But when challenged on his record on Sunday night, Sanders' response was pretty blunt, calling Clinton disingenuous, and highlighting his negative vote record from the National Rifle Association (NRA).

Well, I think Secretary Clinton knows that what she says is very disingenuous. I have a D-minus voting record from the NRA. ... I stood up to the gun lobby and came out and maintained the position that in this country we should not be selling military style assault weapons. ... I support what President Obama is doing in terms of trying to close the gun show loop holes and I think it should be a federal crime if people act as strawmen.

Sanders also argued that as a senator from Vermont, both a rural and liberal state which boasts a robust history of gun ownership and recreational hunting, he'd be well equipped to help bridge the divide between pro-gun citizens and advocates for responsible reforms.

It was obviously from the exchange that this is going to be an area of contention going forward, however, despite Sanders' impassioned denunciation of Clinton's criticism. She followed up by revisiting his voting record on the Brady bill, and it was clear enough from her tact that she sees this as a major vulnerability in Sanders' broadly far-left policy portfolio. It'll also be interesting to see just how far Sanders goes to try to patch up this rare area where Clinton's running to his left ― while he's indicated that he's open to rethinking some of his established positions on gun control, he hasn't gotten too definitive just yet.