Florida Senator Marco Rubio is calling for a firearm task force to research the effect of mass shootings in the U.S. Rubio, who has received more than $3.3 million from the National Rifle Association (NRA), is advocating such a task force for the first time since joining the Senate in 2011. According to POLITICO, Rubio is open to several measures that will make it harder for certain people from getting their hands on assault-style weapons. Some of the gun control measures Rubio is open to include expanding background checks, banning bump fire conversion kits that are used to turn semi-automatic rifles like AR-15s into machine guns, and implementing the gun-violence restraining order to take guns away from people facing domestic violence charges.
People are calling Sen. Marco Rubio out on not doing enough to prevent gun violence and, in some cases, voting to make accessing assault weapons easier.
— Cynde Mercer (@CyndeMercer) February 20, 2018
In 2013, Rubio voted with 59 other Senators against a bill that would have banned the sell of AR-15s, which is the gun used in most mass shootings in the U.S., including Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. The vote, according to VoteSmart.Org, would have created a list of weapons to ban because of their status as assault weapons. There was an assault weapons ban that was passed in 1994 under President Clinton and was allowed to lapse and expire in 2004 during President Bush.
Some Twitter users are just quoting the amount of money the NRA has contributed to his political career.
— Josh Albarelli (@JoshAlbarelli) February 20, 2018
By the time of the Las Vegas shooting, Marco Rubio was number six in the top ten NRA-back Senators, according to The New York Times. Rubio mentioned to POLITICO that he is not moving too quickly on any kind of gun control because he needs to learn more about what is causing the shootings.
“If you’re going to talk about gun violence, you’re going to have to focus on the gun part. But you also have to focus on the violence part,” Rubio told POLITICO. “What is the catalyst causing people to do this?”
But a small group of people are hopeful that Rubio means what he says and are offering advice on how to proceed.
Good. Now sponsor a bipartisan bill to remove AR-15 guns from the USA. Do the right thing.
— paul myhre (@MyhrePaul) February 20, 2018
Gun advocates and enthusiasts maintain that the AR-15 is not an assault weapon because it is not fully automatic when purchased. However, any gun owner can easily purchase a bump fire stock conversion kit to turn their AR-15 into an automatic rifle.
“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 said from the Senate floor. He 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.'”