Sen. Marco Rubio said Thursday that gun restrictions would not have prevented the mass shooting at a high school in his home state.
“I understand. I really do. You read in the newspaper that they used a certain kind of gun and therefore let’s make it harder to get those kinds of guns. I don’t have some sort of de facto religious objection to that or some ideological commitment to that, per se,” the Florida Republican said.
“If we do something, it should be something that works. And the struggle up to this point has been that most of the proposals that have been offered would not have prevented, not just yesterday’s tragedy, but any of those in recent history,” Rubio added. “Just because these proposals would not have prevented these does not mean that we therefore raise our hands and say, ‘Therefore, there’s nothing we can do.’”
Rubio said that alongside guns, lawmakers should also “focus on the violence part” of policymaking.
The Florida senator had received $3.3 million from the National Rifle Association as of October 2017, according to The New York Times. Following the Pulse nightclub shooting, Rubio made similar comments, telling the BBC that tougher gun regulations would not have prevented the attack.
Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson countered Rubio’s assertion that stricter gun laws could not have prevented Wednesday’s shooting.
“We don’t know that. Where in all of these mass shootings, you enumerated some, that go back to Columbine, where in all of these mass shootings if an assault rifle were not legal and therefore you could not purchase it, would not one of those rifles have been able to be used in the massacre?” Nelson said. “I was raised on a ranch. I’ve had guns all my life. I’ve hunted all my life. I still hunt with my son. You don’t need an AR-15 for hunting.”