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Bernie Sanders accuses Rachel Maddow of mischaracterization on gun quote

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MSNBC anchor Rachel Maddow called out Sen. Bernie Sanders when he tried to downplay a past statement he made on gun control at Thursday night’s Democratic debate.

Maddow, who was one of the moderators during the debate, asked the senator about a quote he gave Vermont alt-weekly newspaper Seven Days in 2013, on gun control. While the original story paraphrased Sanders’ position, they recently published the quote in full, in which he said: “My own view on guns is: Everything being equal, states should make those decisions.”

Maddow asked whether Sanders’ view on the issue had changed since 2013, or whether he thinks “there’s a federal role to play.”

Sanders started off his answer by saying: “That’s a mischaracterization of my thinking.”

Maddow quickly shot back “It’s a direct quote.”

Despite being one of the more progressive candidates running for the Democratic party’s nomination, Sanders has often been criticized for his history on gun control.

When he first ran for the House of Representatives in 1988, he supported an assault rifle ban and lost. He blamed his loss on his support of the ban in a mostly rural state where hunting is popular.

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Once he was finally elected to Congress, he swung the other way on the issue and has been haunted by voting against the Brady Act, which set up federal background checks for gun buyers, and later in favor of a bill that shielded gun companies from lawsuits.

But after announcing he was running for president for a second time this year, Sanders has gone back to his original position. In his campaign announcement video, he said: “We need to take on the NRA, expand background checks, end the gun show loophole, and ban the sale and distribution of assault weapons.”

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