During the CNN town hall last week between Florida lawmakers and the survivors of a mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) issued a promise: he would support legislation that would raise the minimum age for buying a rifle.
“I absolutely believe that in this country, if you are 18 years of age, you should not be able to buy a rifle. I will support a law that takes that right away,” Rubio said, speaking to one victim’s father.
Thursday afternoon, however, Rubio made an about-face on the Senate floor.
Rubio said he would be “open” to the “possibility” of “looking at” the age limits on semi-automatic rifles.
In Florida, an individual only has to be 18 to purchase an AR-15 style weapon like the one used in Parkland, but only 21 to purchase a handgun.
Rubio was on the Senate floor to unveil his gun plan. He announced he would be introducing legislation focused on background checks. One of these is called the “Lie and Try” legislation, which requires the FBI to notify local law enforcement when someone who is prohibited from buying a gun tries to purchase one. Rubio is also backing a “gun violence restraining order,” which would allow the police to confiscate weapons from known threats and require schools to report potentially dangerous children to the police as well.
But none of these proposals are what the families of victims or survivors of the Parkland shooting want. They’ve rallied around banning assault rifles and high-capacity magazines and raising the minimum age to purchase a gun. These policies are not supported by the National Rifle Association and therefore, will not be supported by Sen. Rubio, who has advanced in his career will the help of $3,303,355 in NRA campaign spending.
It shouldn’t be surprising that Rubio doesn’t support an increase in the minimum age requirement, given that he has a bill in the Senate right now that would allow 18-year-olds in Washington, D.C. to purchase AR-15 style weapons like the one that killed 17 Floridians just over two weeks ago.