The father of a murdered Parkland, FL student ripped into Sen. Marco Rubio for refusing to support an assault weapons ban during a heated CNN town hall.
CNN’s Stand Up: The Students of Stoneman Douglas Demand Action brought together parents, community members and students from Parkland, Florida to discuss the tragedy that struck the high school one week prior on February 14. President Donald Trump and Florida Governor Rick Scott declined invitations to sit down with the grieving students at the Sunrise, FL event, as the president met with some survivors at the White House earlier in the day. But Florida senators Marco Rubio and Bill Nelson, and Rep. Ted Deutch were all present. It was definitely hostile territory for pro-gun Rubio, and he got hit hard right away.
Fred Guttenberg, who lost his 14-year-old daughter Jamie in the massacre laid into the Republican, telling him, “Your comments this week and that of our president have been pathetically weak,” to a huge round of applause. “Look at me and tell me guns were the factor in the hunting of our kids in the school that week. Tell me you will do something about guns.”
Rubio drew massive ire when he told Fred that he wouldn’t support an assault weapons ban. “If I believed that law would have prevented this from happening, I would support it. But I want to explain to you why it would not.” Fred shot back, describing how Jamie was “shot in the back with an assault weapon, the weapon of choice,” before he continued, “It’s too easy to get — it’s a weapon of war. The fact that you can’t stand with everyone else in this room to say that, I’m sorry.” Rubio then gave a long drawn out non-answer that looped back to citing the need for better mental health care.
The event began with the faces of the 17 murdered teachers and students being shown on a large screen, a reminder of the lives lost one week prior, following Nikolas Cruz‘ deadly shooting of these poor souls. Nelson and Deutch — both Democrats — opened their speeches with calls for tighter gun control to standing ovations from the audience. Pro-gun Republican Rubio acknowledged that he saw everyone’s hope for a plan of action and encouraged others to push for changes in gun laws without saying that he would do so himself. He admitted that people may not like everything he had to say or what he stands for and got only sparse applause.
Students, including outspoken activists Kevin Trejos, Ryan Deitsch, Alfonso Calderon, Chris Grady and Emma Gonzalez, displayed an incredible amount of restraint and grace in conversation with the people who think that their murdered classmates’ lives are worth less than the ability to own assault rifles. Deutch and Nelson gave assuring answers to their questions, telling them they support strong background checks, banning assault weapons and removing the millions of NRA dollars from political campaigns. Rubio took the brunt of the audience’s anger for his pro-gun stance and was slammed by Douglas High junior Cameron Kasky, who asked him repeatedly to pledge that he wouldn’t take money from the NRA, which he refused to do. Rubio has taken over $3 million in campaign contributions from the pro-gun group, which is $176,000 for each of the 17 lives lost at Douglas High.
The students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas lived through the unthinkable, and are yet being attacked by vicious adults trying to discredit their stories. As these brave kids, who only last week saw 17 of their classmates and teacher murdered by a 19-year-old with an AR-15 in their school, continue to fight and speak out, some livid gun owners see them as a threat. Students, like David Hogg, have even been accused of being crisis actors propped up by Democrats to share a liberal message. Or, in reality, they are resilient teenagers who just saw their friends die horrific deaths right in front of them in their school hallways and classrooms.
Father of Florida school shooting victim confronts Sen. Marco Rubio: "Your comments this week and those of our President have been pathetically weak" https://t.co/TWJYomYblh #StudentsStandUp https://t.co/uSiPJ1paF7
— Anderson Cooper 360° (@AC360) February 22, 2018
— Sarah Reese Jones (@PoliticusSarah) February 22, 2018
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