CNN hosted a contentious town hall Wednesday. Survivors of last week’s school shooting met with representatives from the state to discuss firearms policy and their hope for change. Senator Marco Rubio was there fielding questions. Rubio took the brunt of the anger from the crowd, but tried to present the complexity of the firearms debate.
A father who lost a child in the shooting asked about how the school shooter, with his history of mental issues and run-ins with police, was able to buy guns. Rubio offered a glimpse into his position on background checks and the nuanced look at firearms law.
“I do believe what you’re saying is true,” Rubio said. “I believe that someone like this individual and anyone like him shouldn’t have any gun. Not this gun, any gun.
“But I want to explain for a moment the problem. With the law they call the assault weapons ban. Indulge me for a minute to explain the problem.”
“First you have to define what it is. If you look at the law and it’s definition, it basically bans 200 models of gun in this, about 220 specific models of gun in this country.”
“Good,” the father said.
“But it allows legal 2000 other types of gun that are identical. Identical in the way that they function, in how fast they fire, in the type of caliber that they fire, in the way they perform.”
“They are indistinguishable from the ones that become illegal. And the only thing that separates the two types is if you put a plastic handlegrip on one it becomes banned. If it doesn’t have a plastic handlegrip it does not become banned.”
“In New York they have passed that ban, and you knew what they’ve done to get right around it? Took them fifteen seconds to do? They simply take the plastic grip off the front or the back, it’s the same gun, and it becomes legal, performs the exact same way.”
“So, what my belief is, my belief remains that rather than continue to try to chase every loophole that’s created – that’s why it failed in ’94, it’s why they’re getting around it now in California, it’s how they get around it in New York, is we instead should make sure that dangerous criminals, people that are deranged cannot buy any gun of any kind.”
“That’s what I believe a better answer will be.”