An audience of about 7,000 people booed Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) multiple times at a CNN town hall on school shootings Wednesday when he refused to say he would stop accepting donations from the National Rifle Association.
High school junior Cameron Kasky, who survived the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High last week in Parkland, Florida, in which 17 people died, asked Rubio, “Can you tell me right now that you will not accept a single donation from the NRA?”
Rubio replied that he would continue to take the NRA’s money because “people buy into my agenda ― and I do support the Second Amendment.”
Kasky continued, “So, right now, in the name of 17 people, you cannot ask the NRA to keep their money out of your campaign?”
“There is money on both sides of every issue in America,” Rubio replied, “and where that leaves us in policymaking is to look at the issues and make a decision based on what we think is right.”
Rubio has accepted $3,303,355 in donations so far from the NRA in his political career.
The simple questions were the most devastating during the sometimes heated town hall, called “Stand Up: The Students of Stoneman Douglas Demand Action” “Why do we have to march on Washington just to save innocent lives?” student Ryan Deitsch asked Rubio.
Rubio replied that there would be changes as a result of Deitsch and his classmates’ advocacy.
Fred Guttenberg, whose daughter was killed in last week’s shooting, also confronted Rubio. “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,” he said.
Dissatisfied with Rubio’s response, Guttenberg then called the senator and President Donald Trump “pathetically weak.”
Kasky told Rubio it was hard to look at him “without looking down the barrel of an AR-15,” referring to the weapon authorities believe the gunman used in the massacre at Kasky’s school.
He then asked Rubio if he could tell a classmate sitting in the audience if he would live long enough to be able to enlist in the Army.
“Not only are you going to live to serve our country, but you, and all of you, have the chance to change our country, change not just our laws but the way we talk about our laws,” Rubio said.