Born in 1972, Robert Francis O’Rourke graduated with a B.A. from Columbia University in 1995. After being involved with a newspaper and other ventures, he served on the El Paso city council from 2005 to 2011, briefly serving as mayor pro tempore during 2005 and 2006. He was a congressman from Texas from 2013 to 2019.
Arms Trade Treaty
O’Rourke’s position on this issue is unknown.
Arms Sales to Saudi Coalition
O’Rourke explicitly supports ending arms sales and military support to the Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen.
Response to Council on Foreign Policy questionnaire, July 30, 2019
“As President, I will call for an end to the repression of women’s rights activists, impose Global Magnitsky Act sanctions on those responsible for Jamal Khashoggi’s murder, respond to the clearly-articulated desire of the American people to end US involvement in the war in Yemen and halt arms sales to the kingdom until it commits to a cessation of hostilities and peace negotiations. A constructive US-Saudi relationship is worth preserving, but only if Riyadh is willing to engage in a significant course correction.”
Firearms Export Reclassification
O'Rourke is expected to support retention of State Department oversight of firearms exports. He has proposed a mandatory confiscation program for assault-style weapons and has expressed concern about the harmful effects of U.S. guns abroad.
Campaign website, 2019
“Weapons of war belong on the battlefield, not in our communities or on our streets. Beto is calling for a mandatory buyback program for assault weapons and a voluntary buyback program for handguns. To create a funding stream for buybacks, Beto will increase the excise tax on gun manufacturers and fines imposed on gun traffickers, and will enable ATF to purchase any banned assault weapons presented to the agency. Individuals who fail to participate in the mandatory buyback of assault weapons will be fined.”
“Make gun trafficking a federal crime. America’s weak gun laws have contributed to the spread in gun violence abroad. Currently, individuals who traffic multiple guns to individuals prohibited from firearm possession or through straw purchases are often only able to be prosecuted for a paperwork violation. As President, Beto will address this by making gun trafficking and straw purchases federal crimes.”