Born in 1941, Bernard Sanders graduated in 1964 with a B.A. from the University of Chicago, also being heavily involved in political activism. He served three terms as mayor of Burlington, Vermont, from 1981 until 1989. From 1991 to 2007 he served as at-large representative of Vermont to the U.S. House of Representative as an independent. In the latter year he was elected to his current position as Senator from Vermont. He sought, but did not receive, the nomination of the Democratic party for president in 2016.
Arms Trade Treaty
Sanders explicitly supports ratifying the Arms Trade Treaty. His statements to this regard follow a record of support for the treaty in the Senate, including a 2013 vote against an amendment prohibiting adoption of it.
Response to Amnesty International questionnaire, June 2019
"The Trump Administration’s withdrawal from the U.N. Arms Trade Treaty is dangerous and irresponsible. We must strengthen these treaties, not end them."
Arms Sales to Saudi Coalition
Sanders explicitly supports ending arms sales and military support to the Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen. Sanders supports completely ending the arms trade with Saudi Arabia. He voted (See also S.J. Res. 36, 38) in favor of measures to stop the trade and helped lead the effort to override Trump's veto regarding emergency arms sales. Sanders also sponsored a War Powers Resolution, S.J. Res.7, which would withdraw other forms of military assistance to the Saudi coalition including refueling and support. It passed both houses of Congress and reached the President's desk before being vetoed.
Press release following Saudi bombing, September 3, 2019
“U.S. logistical support, spare-parts transfers and intelligence sharing for the Saudi dictatorship's airstrikes make us complicit in this nightmare. By passing our bill earlier this year, the House and Senate have spoken: America’s involvement in Saudi Arabia’s war is unconstitutional and must end immediately. Now we must use Congress’s power of the purse to block every nickel of taxpayer money from going to assist the Saudi dictatorship as it bombs and starves civilians in Yemen."
Response to Council on Foreign Policy questionnaire, July 30, 2019
"The reality is that the U.S.-Saudi relationship needs to change. It is based on cheap oil, millions of dollars of arms sales, a complete disregard for Saudi Arabia's human rights violations, and willful blindness when it comes to Saudi's spread of religious radicalism. We must immediately end our support for Saudi Arabia's carnage in Yemen and clearly signal Riyadh that we categorically reject their not-too-unsubtle efforts to drag the US into a conflict with Iran. But we must also recognize that for the sake of stability in the Middle East, Saudi Arabia needs to be part of the solution. It’s a hard reality that the United States sometimes has to work with undemocratic governments to protect our own security, but we should also recognize that relying on corrupt authoritarian regimes to deliver us security is a losing bet. Democratic governments that are accountable to their own people, which share our values and have open societies make far better partners in the long term."
2nd Democratic Debate, June 27, 2019
"One of the differences that Joe and I have in our record is Joe voted for that war [in Iraq]. I helped lead the opposition to that war, which is a total disaster. Second of all, I helped lead the effort for the first time to utilize the War Powers Act, to get the United States out of the Saudi- led intervention in Yemen, which is the most horrific humanitarian disaster on Earth."
Firearms Export Reclassification
Sanders is expected to support retention of State Department oversight of firearms exports. While his legislative record is empty of direct statements about this policy in particular, Sanders has repeatedly spoken about the deleterious effects of the proliferation, domestically and internationally, of assault-style firearms. His campaign website contains language stating that, if elected, he will ban "the sale and distribution of assault weapons."
Statement from Campaign Website, 2019
"Ban the sale and distribution of assault weapons. Assault weapons are designed and sold as tools of war. There is absolutely no reason why these firearms should be sold to civilians."