At tonight’s televised CNN town hall, in which lawmakers, including Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL), fielded questions and concerns from an exasperated collection of students, parents, and residents, one interaction in particular summed up the atmosphere of the evening.
Fred Guttenberg, the father of a student named Jaime, who was killed in last week’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting, confronted the Republican Senator, calling his and Trump’s reassurance on the massacre “pathetically weak.”
Sen. Rubio is confronted by Fred Guttenberg, whose daughter was killed in the Parkland shooting: “Look at me and tell me guns were the factor in the hunting of our kids … and you will work with us to do something about guns” #StudentsStandUp https://t.co/vjDOxP1usk
— CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) February 22, 2018
“When I like you, you know it. When I’m pissed as you, you know it. Your comments this week and those of our president have been pathetically weak,” said Mr. Guttenberg.
“So you and I are now eye to eye. Because I want to like you, look at me and tell me,” he continued. “Guns were the factor in the hunting of our kids in this school this week. And look at me and tell me you accept it and you will work with us to do something about guns.”
“We’re going to talk about guns,” Rubio said to boos. “I’m saying the problems that we’re facing here today cannot be solved by gun laws alone and I’m going to tell you what we’ve done already and what I hope we’ll do moving forward—“
“Were guns the factor in the hunting of our kids,” Guttenberg interrupted. “It’s the weapon of choice, can you say that.”
“Absolutely,” Rubio said.
Rubio then went on to claim that he would support legislation to enact a minimum age to purchase guns, to improve background checks, and to ban bump stocks.
Of course, while Rubio may make promises in the presence of a largely Democratic audience, what he and his colleagues in the Republican Party do once they return to Congress is another story. Time will tell whether the NRA’s stranglehold on the GOP will even allow them to give an inch in favor of protecting American children in their schools, or whether campaign donations are still more important.