Senator Marco Rubio Goes 'Eye-to-Eye' With Parent of Slain Florida Student

A father who lost his daughter in last week’s Florida school shooting slammed Sen. Marco Rubio during CNN’s Town Hall on Wednesday, telling him that he and President Donald Trump have been “pathetically weak.”

"Your comments this week and those of our president have been pathetically weak," said Fred Guttenberg, whose daughter was killed by gunfire at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Feb. 14.

His brutal comment to the Florida lawmaker was met with a standing ovation and roaring applause by the crowd, which was made up of Stoneman Douglas students and their families.

"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,” Guttenberg continued.

The request led to an intense debate between the grieving father and former presidential candidate, with audience members jeering and booing Rubio's responses as the father pressed him on assault weapons like the AR-15 rifle, which was used by 19-year-old confessed shooter Nikolas Cruz.

"I absolutely believe that in this country if you are 18 years of age you should not be able to buy a rifle and I will support a law that takes that right away,” Rubio responded to detail his proposed actions following the shooting that killed 17 people.

“I will support the banning of bump stocks — and I know that the President has ordered the Attorney General to do it — and if he doesn’t we should do it by law,” Rubio continued.

The Florida senator also gave his support for reforming the background check system required to purchase guns and will back laws requiring or incentivizing states to report the information obtained during those checks.

Rubio added that last year he pushed for and received in the senate budget $50 million a year through the Sandy Hook Initiative to provide threat assessment funds for schools in all states. He said the fund would allow school districts to set up programs meant to identify those who may be capable of carrying out similar tragedies.

The lawmaker also received a heated question from Chris Grady, a senior Stoneman Douglas student who survived last week's shooting. Grady pressed Rubio on his past support of large-capacity magazines, asking if he would agree that "there is no place in our society for large-capacity magazines capable of firing over from 15 to 30 rounds, and if not, more."

"I'm glad you asked that question," Rubio responded, "because I traditionally have not supported looking at magazine clip size. And after this and some of the details I've learned about it, I'm reconsidering that position. And I'll tell you why. I'll tell you why. Because while it may not prevent an attack, it may save lives in an attack."


The conversation with Stoneman Douglas students and parents regarding gun control and school safety is one of more than 70 meetings set up while the Parkland residents are visiting Tallahassee.

At the forefront of the meetings are questions about the assault rifle Cruz used to carry out the school shooting which killed 17 students and staff members, as well as the multiple magazines he carried to incite mass destruction on his former classmates. Cruz's AR-15 is the same weapon used in the attacks on Sandy Hook, the Texas church shooting, the Route 91 Harvest Music Festival shooting and at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando.