four hours ~ a former city worker gunned down 12 world at the Virginia coast Municipal center last month, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) took to Twitter to speak to for total control.

"The work of the NRA controlling Congress and also writing our gun regulations must end," the wrote, referring to the national Rifle Association. "Congress need to listen to the American people and also pass gun safety legislation. This sickening total violence need to stop."

In a statement to the brand-new York Times, Sanders spokesperson Arianna Jones said he would certainly "continue pushing for policy that mirrors the urgency of this nationwide crisis, consisting of his three-decades-old support for an attack weapons ban."

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The an answer was standard Sanders. Central to his 2020 project for the democratic presidential nomination is the concept that he has actually consistently sustained the same policies — and also opposed the exact same special interests — transparent his half century in publicly life.

but when it pertains to gun rights, the senator from Vermont has actually been anything however consistent. Throughout his very first two years in Congress, Sanders supported lot of the NRA"s legislative agenda. And according to plenty of who experienced his rise from political obscurity to the presidential debate stage, he owes his job to the an extremely special understanding he now denounces.

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Rutland Herald one October 26, 1990, account the the NRA"s efforts to loss Peter smith

Sanders was elected to the U.S. Residence in 1990 ~ his predecessor, Republican Peter Smith, adopted an attack weapons ban, earning the wrath the the NRA and an flow of money to defeat him.

"We don"t like every little thing that Mr. Sanders has to say about firearms," NRA lobbyist James Baker called the Rutland Herald in October 1990 as the company flooded the state v anti-Smith advertisements and also mailings. "But he"s to be up front about it. He"s at least as good, if no better, 보다 Mr. Smith."

when Sanders first ran for president in 2016, Smith declined every interview request but one, from the Washington Post, and also even climate refused to talk about the 1990 race. "It to be going to be really partisan, and I did not want to end up being the issue," he told 7 Days this month.

currently semiretired and living in Santa Fe, N.M., the 73-year-old ex-politico desires to make clear that, in his view, the NRA"s involvement to be "the primary reason" Sanders defeated him practically three years ago.

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Anson Stevens-Bollen Peter blacksmith in Santa Fe, N.M.

"He would prefer to have the reason why he won the very first race go away," Smith claimed of Sanders. "But it"s a matter of windy record."

Upon arriving in congress in 1991, Sanders consistently voted against legislation inquiry waiting durations for those to buy firearms. He opposed a 1996 measure that would have enabled the Centers for disease Control and Prevention to money research on gun violence. And also he voted in favor of a 2005 legislation shielding total manufacturers indigenous lawsuits —a "historic victory" for the NRA, together the organization"s executive vice president, Wayne LaPierre, dubbed it at the time.

Sanders has due to the fact that reversed course and also now support a raft of federal gun-control initiatives.

however for many of his career, Sanders argued that the states, not the federal government, should be charged through regulating firearms. During a failed 1988 bid for the U.S. House, Sanders publicly opposed mandatory waiting durations for gun buyers and also told the Burlington totally free Press he was satisfied through the nation"s pistol laws. "It"s a local control issue," he said shortly before the "88 election. "In Vermont, that is no my view that the existing law needs any type of changing."

nearly 25 year later, in the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary institution shooting in Newtown, Conn., Sanders make the same dispute in an interview with seven Days, lot of which has not formerly been published.

"My very own view on weapons is: everything being equal, states should make those decisions," that said during the in march 6, 2013, interview in his Capitol Hill office.

At the moment, Sanders appeared unwilling come commit come a collection of new gun legislations proposed by then-president Barack Obama and vice president Joe Biden, including an assault weapons ban.

"I don"t think assault weapons—" Sanders began, cutting himself off. "Let me just say this around guns: You"ve obtained 300 million firearms in this country. You"ve acquired 5 million assault weapons. If girlfriend passed the the strongest gun-control regulation tomorrow, i don"t think it will have a profound impact on the tragedies we have seen, which room really tragedy."