One of the students who survived the deadly shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School last week challenged Senator Marco Rubio, Republican of Florida, to no longer accept donations from the National Rifle Association during a heated CNN town hall Wednesday evening.
Speaking to Rubio onstage, Cameron Kasky, a junior, said, “This isn’t about red and blue. We can’t boo people because they’re Democrats and boo people because they’re Republicans. … This is about people who are for making a difference to save us and people who are against it and prefer money. So, Senator Rubio, can you tell me right now that you will not accept a single donation from the NRA in the future?”
Kasky’s question drew cheers and applause, but Rubio didn’t answer directly.
“The answer to the question is that people buy into my agenda,” he said. “And I do support the Second Amendment, and I also support the right of you and everyone here to be able to go to school and be safe. And I do support any law that would keep guns out of the hands of a deranged killer.”
As Kasky pressed him further, Rubio said, “The influence of these groups comes not from money; the influence comes from the millions of people that agree with the agenda, the millions of Americans who support the NRA and who support gun rights groups.”
“Right now,” Kasky said, “in the name of 17 people, you cannot ask the NRA to keep their money out of your campaign?”
“I think in the name of 17 people, I can pledge to you that I will support any law that will prevent a killer like this from getting a gun,” Rubio replied.
The senator, who has received $3.3 million in donations from the NRA over the course of his career, noted that he supports raising the age for buying a rifle from 18 to 21, and he does not support the idea of arming teachers. “I will do what I think is right, and if people want to support my agenda, they’re welcome to do so,” Rubio said. “But they buy into my ideas; I don’t buy into theirs.”
Watch the video above for more.