Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) admitted that an overwhelming majority of gun owners wouldn't even think to commit an atrocity like the recent mass murders in Texas and Ohio, but said they will need to make concessions on the issue anyway.
Sanders was being interviewed by Joe Rogan on his podcast, "The Joe Rogan Experience," when Rogan responded to Sanders' plans for stopping mass killings by asking him what he would say to gun owners who feel their right to bear arms is essential to their identity as Americans.
"Now, the legal gun owners who are law-abiding citizens, who would never in a million years think about going around shooting people, but they love guns," Rogan began. "They hear this kind of stuff about banning assault rifles, banning assault weapons—they don't even like the term 'assault weapons,' right? They like to refer to them as their individual names of whatever they are. These people feel like this is an inexorable part of being an American. That you should be able to own a gun. It's written into our Bill of Rights, it's written into the way this country was founded, it's the Second Amendment. What do you say to those people, that don't want to give up their guns and they want to protect themselves? They feel like these guns are viable options to protect themselves from criminals."
"I understand that," Sanders replied. "And Joe, as you might know I am a senator from the state of Vermont, and the state of Vermont is one of the most rural states in America. Every fall, thousands and thousands of people are out in the woods hunting, and it's something that is part of our tradition. I believe in it, I believe in the Second Amendment.
"But all that I ask of the gun owners—and you're absolutely right, 99.9 percent of gun owners would never in a million, billion years think of doing these horrible things—but at the moment that we are living in, I think we are all going to have to make some concessions to the reality of what's going on, and that is that there is a small number of—call them whatever you want, depraved people—who are prepared to do that," Sanders continued.
During the interview, Sanders also admitted that banning so-called assault weapons might not be the solution, but still expressed a desire to take some kind of action. He also reference the speed with which New Zealand implemented a semi-automatic weapons ban after a mass murder at two mosques.
"I'm not suggesting that anything here, that if you banned assault weapons tomorrow, that it would radically change everything," Sanders said. "But we have got to do the best that we can do."
Watch the clip below:
Joe Asks Bernie Sanders "Is There a Solution to Mass Shootings?" youtu.be
Sanders was criticized during his 2016 presidential run by opponents Hillary Clinton and Martin O'Malley for his position on guns, which included voting against a national background check bill in 1993 and voting in favor of a bill in 2003 and 2005 that aimed to protect gun companies from legal liability if their guns are used in crimes.