Bernie Sanders and Gun Rights: More Than Just Electoral Expediency, por Jesse Walker (Reason Hit and Run):
Bernie Sanders' uneven but real support for gun rights has puzzled a lot of pundits, who tend to describe the socialist senator's position on the issue as "to Clinton's right" and who tend to figure it's just a byproduct of getting elected in a rural state where guns are everywhere. Both of these theses are undermined by this passage in Michael Tracey's new story for The New Republic:
The [Liberty Union] party, while Sanders served on its executive committee, adopted a platform in 1972 that called for the "abolition of all laws which interfere with the Constitutional right of citizens to bear arms." This may suggest that Sanders's relatively permissive views on gun ownership, already the subject of much consternation among liberals, could be rooted in sincere principle—not simply in the practical realities of winning election in rural Vermont.Given the Liberty Union Party's penchant for taking self-marginalizing radical stances, I think it's safe to suppose this plank was not mere electoral expediency. But it fit snugly with the New Left's general tendency to be far friendlier to gun rights than center-left liberals were. (...)
I have to confess a certain fondness for the '70s incarnation of Bernie Sanders. (...) [T]he Old, Weird Bernie Sanders was much more libertarian on social issues than he is now, calling for the abolition of compulsory schooling, the legalization of hard drugs, and an end to "all laws which attempt to impose a particular brand of morality or 'right' on people." He even opposed mandatory flouridation and helmet laws. Of course he was also more prone than the current Sanders to call for enormous expansions of the government's economic power.