A father who lost his daughter in Parkland last week confronted Marco Rubio's "pathetically weak" response to gun violence.
At CNN’s town hall on gun control Wednesday night, Fred Guttenberg, the grieving father who lost his 14-year-old daughter Jaime at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High shooting, confronted Sen. Marco Rubio. And faced with tough questions about his record, Rubio folded.
“Your comments this week, and those of our president, have been pathetically weak,” said Guttenberg to applause from the crowd. “So you and I are now eye to eye. Because I want to like you. Look at me and tell me guns were the factor in the hunting of our kids in this school this week. And look at me and tell me you accept it and you will work with us to do something about guns.”
“Let me explain what I said this week, and I’ll repeat it,” Rubio said as the audience booed him.
“Let him speak,” Guttenberg told the crowd. “I think we need to hear it.”
“I’m saying that the problems we face here today cannot be solved by gun laws alone,” Rubio said.
“Were guns the factor in the hunting of our kids?” Guttenberg pressed him.
“Of course they were,” Rubio finally said, and then listed off a few things he would support doing, like banning bump stocks and raising the minimum age to buy a gun. He even said he would be open to expanding background checks, although this is at odds with his previous votes against doing so.
Then, on the assault weapons ban, Rubio emphatically refused.
“Let me be honest with you about that one,” said Rubio, to renewed booing. “If I believed that that law would have prevented this from happening, I would support it.”
“Senator Rubio,” Guttenberg interjected, “my daughter, running down the hallway at Marjory Stoneman Douglas, was shot in the back with an assault weapon, the weapon of choice. It is too easy to get. It is a weapon of war. The fact that you can’t stand with everybody in this building and say that, I’m sorry.”
Guttenberg has gained national attention as he buried his daughter, a dancer and volunteer who wanted to be a therapist and had dreams of starting a family. Dancers have been wearing orange ribbons in her honor, which was both her favorite color and the color of gun violence prevention.
Rubio, who has received millions from the NRA, is unwilling to look this father in the eye and commit to keeping the gun that murdered his daughter off the streets. His cowardice and his unwillingness to fight for a family in his own state is a permanent mark of shame.