Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump boasted Saturday at a Sioux Center, IA, rally “I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody, okay, and I wouldn’t lose any voters, okay?” But his primary opponent, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) used this usual claim as an opportunity to take aim at Trump’s home state for its gun laws.
After joking that it is “probably not a good idea” for Trump to actually shoot someone, Rubio lamented that it is just too difficult for New Yorkers to shoot each other.
“The bigger problem in New York is, it’s almost impossible to even have a gun and protect your families,” Rubio said at his own campaign event, “so that’s why it’s so important our next president be someone who defends the Second Amendment.”
While New Yorkers, like all Americans, are free to own guns and buy them, the Empire State requires that all those purchasing guns and ammunition — even through “private sales” and at gun shows — pass a background check. The state also prohibits most assault weapons and large capacity magazines, like those used in mass shootings in Sandy Hook and Tucson.
Despite Rubio’s apparent concern, New Yorkers have little reason to fear. In 2014, Kaiser Family Foundation data shows that New York had the fourth lowest number of gun deaths per capita of any state (4.2 firearm deaths per 100,000 people). That figure is less than half of the 11.5 deaths in Rubio’s home state of Florida. During his time in the state legislature, Rubio helped enact Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law.
Rubio said last week that he purchased a gun of his own on Christmas Eve to help protect his family and America against ISIS.