During Wednesday’s CNN-hosted Democratic Leadership Debate, Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) denied expressing wholesale opposition to the Second Amendment in 2014 as a guest on Real Time With Bill Maher.

Ellison was asked by CNN’s Dana Bash about his ability to connect with Americans who support “gun rights” given his previous statements of hostility toward the constitutionally-enshrined right to keep and bear arms.

Ellison attempted to deflect toward economics and criticism of the National Rifle Association.

Partial transcript below:

Bash: Congressman, gun control. In 2014 you told Bill Maher that you wished the Democratic Party would come out against the Second Amendment. How do you reach out to Americans who support gun rights when you don't support the Second Amendment?

Ellison: First of all, let me tell you, I remember that show very well and that is not what I said, at all. What I talked about is my grandfather's shotgun, the fact I am a turkey hunter, and I didn't say that. That was not an accurate statement… So look I am a believer in, for people to be able to own guns, but the truth is that guns do need, we no need background checks sometimes and we do need to address the fact that people are getting murdered across the country and none of these murders seem to bother the NRA.

Bash: Congressman, I just wanna read you, since you said that wasn’t what you said. I’ll read exactly what happened. Bill Maher: ‘Then why doesn’t your party come out against the Second Amendment? It’s the problem." Your response: "I sure wish they would. I sure wish they would."

Ellison: No, that was a - I sure wish you’d play the tape, because if you did, you would see that it did not go that way, but the real point is this. This country, absolutely I am for the right to bear arms, but I am not for these massive murders that happen all over this country every day.

In March of 2014, Ellison expressed his opposition to the Second Amendment, agreeing with Bill Maher that the constitutional right to keep and bear arms is a “problem.” Watch the video below (relevant portion begins at 4:09):

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