Charleston, South Carolina (CNN)Former Attorney General Eric Holder took a veiled swipe at Bernie Sanders Sunday, urging worshipers at Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston to hold politicians who have stood against gun reform accountable at the ballot box.
Former AG Eric Holder subtly knocks Bernie Sanders on guns
"Those who we elect must be held accountable (on guns)," said Holder, who attended the service as a surrogate for Hillary Clinton. "Those who will not stand with us, those who have not stood with us, must be held accountable."
Holder's comment came from the pulpit of the church that was the site of the 2015 Charleston shooting that left nine people dead. Sanders also attended Sunday's service with his wife, Jane, and activist Cornell West.
Holder did not mention Sanders or Clinton during his remarks, but the gun refrain is consistent with charges the Clinton campaign has spent the week leveling against Sanders.
After the two-hour worship service, Holder denied that his comment was directed at the senator, stating his record "speaks for itself."
"It is directed at everybody," Holder told CNN. "Any congressman, any senator, any governor, any legislator who won't stand for the protection of the American people doesn't need to be in office. It is as simple as that."
Sanders also gave brief remarks during the service, but not from the pulpit like Holder. The senator thanked the church for welcoming them to the service and focused his remarks on honoring Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.
"While it is enormously important that we honor the life and work of Dr. King, it is even more important that we fulfill his dreams and vision," Sanders said.
After the service, Sanders declined to answer questions about the "Charleston Loophole," a provision that allows someone with a criminal record to buy a gun if their background check is not completed within three days. The shooter from Mother Emanuel, Dylann Roof, had a criminal record that was not discovered within the three-day period.
On Sunday though, Sanders told CNN's Jake Tapper on "State of the Union," he would support legislation to roll back 2005 law granting firearm manufacturers legal immunity, a bill he supported a decade ago.
"There were provisions in that legislation" -- like one that banned a particularly deadly brand of bullets -- "that made sense to me," he said.
The tone of the Democratic race has escalated in the last week, with the campaigns sparring about guns, healthcare and taxes, ahead of Sunday's fourth Democratic debate.
"I am very pleased that he flip-flopped on the immunity legislation," Clinton told Tapper.