A Parkland, Florida, school shooting survivor asked Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) if he would deny donations to his political campaign from the National Rifle Association to great applause at the CNN gun violence town hall.
Here’s video of the interaction:
Here’s part of the exchange:
Cameron Kasky, a high school junior who survived the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting, began his question admonishing the audience to be fair to the participants of the town hall.
“We can’t boo people because they’re Democrats and boo people because they’re Republicans,” he said to some applause. “Anyone who’s willing to show change, no matter where they’re from, anybody who is willing to start to make a difference is somebody we need on our side here.”
“This is about people for making a difference to save us,” he continued, “and people who are against it and prefer money, so, Sen. Rubio, can you tell me right now that you will not accept a single donation from the NRA in the future?”
The question got loud applause from the audience.
“So No. 1,” Rubio answered, “the positions I hold on these issues of the Second Amendment, I’ve held since the day I entered office in the city of West Miami as an elected official.”
“The answer to the question is that people buy into my agenda. And I do support the Second Amendment,” he continued, “and I also support the right of you and everyone here to be able to go school and be safe.”
“And I do support any law that would keep guns out of the hands of a deranged killer, and that’s why I support the things that I have stood for and fought for during my time here,” he added, ignoring many boos from the audience.
“The influence of these groups comes not from money,” Rubio explained, “the influence comes from the millions of people that support the agenda. The millions of people that support the NRA and support gun rights.”
“I will always accept the help of anyone who agrees with my agenda,” he said later in the exchange.
Blaming the NRA
Many on the left have tried to pin the blame of the Parkland shootings on the National Rifle Association, saying that they have undue influence because of the money they spend on politicians. Rubio added another dimension to the debate, saying that their influence comes from millions who believe in gun rights.