Republican Sen. Marco Rubio was challenged at a town hall Wednesday night by angry students, teachers and parents who were demanding stronger gun control measures after the school shooting that killed 17 people at a Florida high school.
One of those confronting Rubio at a CNN’s “Stand Up” town hall was Frank Guttenberg, whose 14-year-old daughter Jaime Guttenberg was killed on Feb. 14 with 16 others at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland.
Guttenberg told Rubio that his comments about the shooting “and those of your president this week have been pathetically weak.”
People stood up and cheered Guttenberg as he challenged Rubio to tell him the truth and acknowledge that “guns were the factor in the hunting of our kids.”
Rubio responded that the problems laid bare by the shooting rampage “cannot be solved by gun laws alone,” drawing jeering whistles from the crowd. Rubio responded that he would support laws barring those 18 and under from buying such weapons, changing the background checks system and getting rid of bump stocks.
He said that if he believed an assault weapons ban “would have prevented this from happening, I would have supported it.” That drew jeers. Visibly angry, Guttenberg responded: “That is a weapon of war.”
Earlier, the sheriff in the county where the shooting took place told a cheering audience that young people in his community will hold lawmakers accountable if they do not enact stricter gun controls.
Sheriff Scott Israel of Broward County took up a microphone and said the U.S. has had enough of deadly shootings. He said he walked through the crime scene of a “horrific killer” 30 minutes after last Wednesday’s attack on the Parkland high school.
He then declared, “Never again!”
Israel told the young people to press on with seeking gun law changes, adding “America’s watching you — there will be change.”
He said elected officials will have to make decisions that keep the community safe or “they are not going to hold office” — at least in his grieving community.