Marco Rubio was one of a handful of pro-Second Amendment advocates at a heavily stacked CNN town hall promoting gun control.
The Republican senator faced a highly emotional and hostile crowd to make his case in the wake of the horrific school massacre in Parkland, Florida.
A father who lost his daughter in the shooting called Rubio’s public response to the tragedy “pathetically weak,” and his deep frustration with the senator was seemingly shared by the cheering crowd.
The grieving father looked Rubio in the eyes and challenged him to admit that “guns were the factor in the hunting of our kids.”
He also challenged Rubio to “accept” that statement, and vow to work with him to change the laws.
Against enormous pressure, Rubio stood his ground.
“The problems we face here today cannot be solved by gun laws alone,” Rubio said.
Rubio elicited a few cheers when he said that he’d support an increase in age to buy a rifle, but was literally laughed at when he explained that he wanted procedures, in addition to possible gun law changes, in place to stop potential madmen from committing their heinous acts before they start.
When the dialogue switched to banning assault weapons, the room became even more hostile towards the senator.
“If you’ll indulge me for a minute to explain to you the problem,” Rubio said. “First you have to define what it is. If you look at the law and its definition, it basically bans 200 models of guns, 220 specific models of guns. Okay? But it allows legal 2,000 other types of gun that are identical. Identical.
“My belief remains that rather than continue to try to chase every loophole that’s created, that’s why it failed in ’94, that’s why they’re getting around it in California, it’s how they get around it in New York, is we should make sure that dangerous criminals, people who are deranged cannot buy any gun of any kind,” he continued. “That’s what I believe a better answer will be.”
Rubio, who has already taken meaningful action by demanding an investigation as to why the FBI ignored warnings about the Florida shooter, was roundly chastised, again, for his stance.
“Are you saying you will start with the 200 and work your way up?” the father asked. “Okay. Your answer speaks for itself.”
At another point in the town hall, Rubio was directly compared to mass shooter Nikolas Cruz.
“I’m sorry, I know I’m not supposed to do this, but I’m not going to listen to that. Senator Rubio, it’s hard to look at you and not look down the barrel of an AR-15 and not look at Nikolas Cruz, but the point is: You’re here and there are some people who are not,” Florida student Cameron Kasky told him.
“And this is about people who are for making a difference to save us and people who are against it and prefer money. So Senator Rubio, can you tell me right now that you will not accept a single donation from the NRA in the future,” he demanded as the crowd went wild.
“And I do support any law that would keep guns out of the hands of a deranged killer, and that’s why I support the things I have stood for and fought for–” Rubio tried to respond before being cut off.
“No more NRA money?” Kasky pressed. “More NRA money?”
CNN is coming under heavy fire for its stacked town hall. Hero student Colton Haab, who shielded classmates from gunfire, accused the network of scripting what he was supposed to say after being invited to speak at the televised event. Rather than be censored, Haab decided not attend.
Many belive the whole thing was an exercise in futility:
Gun control advocates: Agree with us or you don’t care.
Gun rights advocates: We do care.
Gun control advocates: You don’t. You’re monsters who don’t value children. GFY. And give us your guns.
Explain how this exchange betters the country or brings us closer to solutions, media.
— Ben Shapiro (@benshapiro) February 22, 2018
NRA spokesperson Dana Loesch, was also in attendance and along with Rubio was clearly outnumbered. That didn’t stop her, Rubio and other Second Amendment supporters from continuing to make their case on social media as to why a ban on assault weapons is not the answer. The shooter should have, and could have been stopped:
*Deputies WERE called to Nikolas Cruz’s house 39 TIMES
*The FBI was SPECIFICALLY warned last month that Cruz:
-Had disturbing Instagram photos
-DESIRED TO KILL PEOPLE
-WANTED TO SHOOT UP A SCHOOL
And the audience booed @DLoesch for asking about this? Unreal.
— Chet Cannon (@Chet_Cannon) February 22, 2018
People need to learn what existing laws we have regulating an issue before proposing new, already existing laws.
— Dana Loesch (@DLoesch) February 21, 2018
Fair enough. Many have argued that most in the CNN audience probably can’t even name the three branches of government and how they work, let alone explain the existing laws we already have that aren’t being implemented.
And the elephant in the CNN room:
And bullets in his backpack, assaulting students and his mom, cutting, animal abuse, repeated threats to kill his fellow students. Students warned officials for years. https://t.co/7yk0M1zpHO
— Dana Loesch (@DLoesch) February 20, 2018
Even after the brutal beating, Rubio still looks to be standing his ground: