Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) faced a hostile crowd during a CNN town hall debate on guns Wednesday night. Many of the attendees were survivors of the school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School last week. Several of the shaken teenagers wanted new gun laws in the wake of the carnage that took 17 of their fellow classmates and teachers.
The shooter, a former student named Nikolas Cruz, used an AR-15 to gun down his victims. As such, gun control activists have demanded a new ban on the firearm and other so-called "assault weapons."
The NRA also took much of the blame, to the point that one student asked the senator if he'd stop accepting money from the organization. Another student called it "blood money." Rubio, however, rejected that request, noting that he will accept funds from anyone who agrees with his ideology.
"People buy into my agenda, and I do support the Second Amendment," he said.
The audience booed.
On Friday morning, one survivor was supposedly so frustrated by his answer that she compared the senator to the AR-15.
We should change the names of AR-15s to “Marco Rubio” because they are so easy to buy.— Sarah Chadwick// #NEVERAGAIN (@sarahchad_) February 23, 2018
Gun rights activists have pushed back, noting that the firearm itself is not to blame for the mass shooting - the gunman is. We tried an assault weapons ban in the 1990s and one of those guns still ended up at the Columbine massacre.
Yet, a whole range of other factors are slowly coming to light to suggest that gun laws aren't the only thing that could have stopped Cruz in his tracks. The FBI is being criticized for not doing enough with the tips it received about Cruz's disturbing behavior. An armed deputy in Broward County is shown on video never entering the school when Cruz started his shooting spree. He has resigned.
Friday was the first day that Marjory Stoneman Douglas students and teachers returned to school since the deadly Valentine's Day. The day will be "dedicated to meeting staff members' needs, with a variety of support services."