Florida school shooting town hall: Rubio on defensive at CNN event

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He also criticized Republican Gov. Rick Scott for not showing up at the Wednesday meeting. Sen. Marco Rubio: "People buy into my agenda".

Marco Rubio, an ardent gun-rights advocate, said he would support raising the age to buy rifles and other restrictions.

"So right now, in the name of 17 people, you can not ask the NRA to keep their money out of your campaign?" said 17-year-old Stoneman Douglas junior Cameron Kasky.

"I do support the Second Amendment", Rubio replied in not answering the question directly.

But Rubio also sought to explain which gun control proposals he would be willing to support, indicating a softening in the wake of the latest high-profile slaying.

Loesch appeared Wednesday evening at CNN's town hall in Florida that featured survivors of last week's shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School that left 17 people dead.

Guttenberg asked Rubio to look him in the eye, to acknowledge the role guns played in his daughter's death and then promise that he would do something.

The politician was repeatedly booed by the crowd during the event.

Cameron Kasky took the microphone and asked Rubio: "Can you tell me right now you will not accept a single donation from the NRA?" prompting applause from the audience.

One of those confronting Rubio on Wednesday night was Fred Guttenberg, whose 14-year-old daughter Jaime was killed on February 14 with 16 others.

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Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., said he wants to see assault rifles like the AR-15 off the streets. But as he continued, Rubio said he believed Guttenberg was asking about the assault weapons ban and stood by his opposition to it. And I do support any law that would keep guns out of the hands of a deranged killer.

"Sen. Rubio, my daughter, running down the hallway at Marjory Douglas, was shot with an assault weapon, the weapon of choice", Guttenberg responded.

Guttenberg added, "And tell me you will work with us to do something about guns". It is a weapon of war. "The fact that you can't stand with everyone in this building and say that?"

"I believe that someone like this individual and anyone like him shouldn't have any gun", Rubio said. "I'll tell you why", he said, "because while it may not prevent an attack, it may save lives in an attack".

As for arming teachers as the President indicated support for earlier Wednesday, Rubio said he did not favor that, both as a father and as a matter of practicality.

I can not think of a politician in Washington right now who is more painfully aware of their crippling mediocrity than Marco Rubio, whose brief moment as a Republican presidential favorite now seems like it took place 12,000 years ago. "The influence comes from the millions of people that agree with the agenda, the millions of Americans that support the NRA".

"I'll tell you why", Rubio said.

The one positive to be gleaned from this experience is that what Marco Rubio says he wants tends to align nicely with whatever he perceives popular opinion to be. "But I think that's the right thing to do". "We'll have to get into that debate".

"Dana Loesch came to me 10yrs ago pitching a sitcom starring herself: 'A hot young mom who does far right radio show, '" he revealed.

Just days after the shooting, lawmakers in Florida voted down the possibility of hearing a bill that would ban assault rifles and large capacity magazines.

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