Bernie Sanders Slammed on Guns, Sandy Hook Ahead of NY Vote

The attack comes on the heels of Sanders' win in Wisconsin and Clinton joins in

As Sen. Bernie Sanders’ team was trumpeting his win in the Wisconsin primary, one of his hometown tabloids was blasting the Vermont senator Wednesday for supporting gun manufacturers.

"Bernie’s Sandy Hook shame," blared the front page of the Daily News, which bills itself as "New York’s Hometown Newspaper."

"Callously defends gunmakers against Newtown kin lawsuit," it said.

Relatives of students and staff killed when Adam Lanza opened fire with a Bushmaster AR-15 rifle at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, in 2012, are trying to sue the gun’s manufacturer.

In an interview with the News last week Sanders responded, "No, I don’t," when asked whether he thought a victim of a crime committed with a gun should be allowed to sue, the newspaper wrote.

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Hillary Clinton, his opponent for the Democratic nomination for president, pounced immediately.

"That he would place gun manufacturers’ rights and immunity from liability against the parents of the children killed at Sandy Hook is just unimaginable to me," Clinton said Wednesday on MSNBC’s "Morning Joe."

Erica Smegielski, the daughter of slain Sandy Hook principal Dawn Hochsprung, was equally critical on Twitter.

Sanders voted for a 2005 federal law that gives gun manufacturers broad immunity from lawsuits. Clinton voted against it.

"But I do believe that gun manufacturers and gun dealers should be able to be sued when they should know that guns are going into the hands of wrong people," Sanders said in the Daily News interview.

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"So if somebody walks in and says, ‘I'd like 10,000 rounds of ammunition,’ you know, well, you might be suspicious about that," he said. "So I think there are grounds for those suits, but not if you sell me a legal product.”

On MSNBC Wednesday morning, Sanders’ senior adviser Tad Devine defended the senator, urging the Sandy Hook relatives to look at his record on gun violence. Sanders lost his first election for Congress because he said he would support a ban on assault weapons, Devine said.

"He has a D- lifetime rating from the NRA," Devine said.

The sparring over the gun lobby continued into Wednesday evening, with the Democrats' campaigns tweeting matching insults at each other. Sanders said Clinton "takes gun lobby money to fund her campaign," but Clinton countered that Sanders "voted for the NRA's 'most important piece of legislation in 20 years.'"

Sanders' plan to break up big banks also was met with skepticism when he stumbled over details in his meeting with the Daily News editorial board. Clinton later said she was concerned that some of his ideas would not work. 

"On breaking up big banks, Senator Sanders understands exactly how to do that," Devine responded. "And we don't need any lessons on getting things done in Congress from someone who didn't pass a single amendment by a roll call vote during her entire career in the Senate."

New York's primary is set for April 19, with the state set to provide the most delegates of any contest until California in June. 

Both candidates have New York ties. Clinton, the former New York senator, has a home in Chappaqua. Sanders grew up in Brooklyn.

The Connecticut primary is April 26. 

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