04:30 - Source: CNN
Survivor presses NRA rep on automatic weapons
Washington CNN —  

Dana Loesch, the spokesperson for the National Rifle Association, says a shooter who killed 17 people last week at a high school in Florida should not have been able to get a firearm.

“I don’t believe this insane monster should have ever been able to obtain a firearm,” Loesch said Wednesday night, calling the suspect “nuts.”

“We have to start … following up on red flags,” she later added.

Loesch, as well as Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel, Florida lawmakers Rep. Ted Deutch and Sens. Bill Nelson and Marco Rubio, along with students, parents and community members, participated in the CNN town hall “Stand Up: The Students of Stoneman Douglas Demand Action” in Sunrise, Florida.

The town hall came a week after 17 people were shot to death at the school in Parkland, Florida, which has prompted calls on lawmakers for gun reform – notably from students around the country.

The NRA has given significant donations to various political candidates, including Rubio, who received two donations of $4,950 during the 2016 campaign from the NRA’s political arm, The National Rifle Association Political Victory Fund.

In the wake of criticism the NRA has received following last week’s tragedy, Loesch said prevention should include ensuring that dangerous individuals are not able to obtain firearms.

“This is the eighth tragedy, the eighth tragedy, where we have seen numerous tips that have been reported and red flags,” she said.

Loesch reiterated that message throughout the town hall.

“This is what I’m talking about in terms of prevention and making sure that people who are dangerous should not have access to firearms, without punishing law-abiding Americans who want to be able to have that same right to defend themselves,” she said.

President Donald Trump declined CNN’s invitation to the town hall but sat down with individuals who were personally affected by school shootings at a listening session at the White House earlier Wednesday. There, he suggested providing firearms to swaths of teachers to prevent school shootings.

CNN’s Emanuella Grinberg and Kate Grise contributed to this report.