US presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders faced off on gun control last night at the final Democratic debate before primaries begin.
Clinton leads in nationwide polls but Sanders has been gaining more traction in key states lately too.
Hillary Clinton criticised Sanders’ “flip-flop” on gun control and dismissed his position on the issue as vulnerable following the recent mass shootings in the country.
Last June, nine black congregants were shot dead at a church close to the venue of this debate.
Sanders said Clinton’s attacks on him are “disingenuous”. He also took the chance to remind everyone that he’s always had a D-minus rating from the National Rifle Association, which is against proposed gun restrictions.
He said, “We have seen in this city a horrendous tragedy, of a crazed person praying. This [gun control issue] should not be a political issue. What we should be doing is working together.”
“As a senator from a rural state with virtually no gun control, I believe I am in an excellent position to bring people together to fight for gun control.”
Clinton didn’t pass up the opportunity to skewer her opponent. She said about Sanders, “He has voted with the gun lobby, with the NRA, numerous times. He voted against the Brady campaign five times. He voted for what we now call the Charleston loophole” – a rule that helped the Charleston shooter get a gun when he otherwise would have been barred one.
“Let’s not forget what this is about. Ninety people a day die from gun violence in our country, that’s 33,000 people a year. One of the most horrific examples happened just a block from here, where we had nine people murdered.”
Gun control has been one of the most controversial issues in the ongoing US presidential race, and this month President Barack Obama unveiled new restrictions on gun purchases despite Congress disapproval.