Florida Sen. Marco Rubio is facing down his Second Amendment critics who say the Republican is a do-nothing legislator on gun violence, stating Monday his legislative position provides him with a platform that others aren’t afforded.
“I’m a U.S. senator; I can defend myself. But a lot of people can’t, and the message to them is: If you don’t agree, you need to be quiet or go away or we’ll turn on you too,” Rubio said.
Rubio hasn’t backed away from the issue in general and has inserted himself into the gun control debate that followed the Parkland shootings last month. The tragedy has energized gun control advocates and provided the impetus for last weekend’s March for Our Lives protest.
Rubio’s critics have been harsh. Some students directly affected by the Parkland shooting ridiculed the senator on the weekend by wearing oversized price tags with a $1.05 value — a number you will get if you divide the students in Florida by the Rubio’s lifetime NRA donations. Another protester suggested Rubio was a “kid killer.”
Parkland student David Hogg, who has been a media favorite since the shooting, doubled-down on his criticism of Rubio when a CNN interviewer suggested Hogg’s “ire is misplaced” since Rubio is “actually trying to work acaross the aisle,”
“He can pass as many laws as you want,” Hogg said. “But if those laws are not very strong and they have so many loopholes that the NRA works so hard to ensure that they have, they aren’t going to be strong enough.”
Rubio says he remains an adamant defender of the Second Amendment but is also committed to obvious threats to public safety are denied access to guns. He’s also assessing suggestions that the age limit for firearms ownership be raised and questioning the sale of large sized magazines.
But he isn’t buying into any firearms bans.
“In terms of banning specific types of guns, if I believed that that would change these things, I would support it. I just don’t believe it will change it,” Rubio stated.
Rubio won’t scapegoat the NRA either.
“The NRA is a group that can stand up for itself,” he Rubio said, “and so they’ve been through that before. But they’re basically a group that supports the Second Amendment and support people who support the Second Amendment. And if people want to focus on that, it’s fine.”