On March 24, 2018 hundreds of thousands of Americans rose to show their support for survivors of the Parkland, Florida shooting, demanding the government to put a ban on guns to prevent future mass shooting incidents. However, one senator chose to stand in front of the young victims of the attack and tell the protesters that he didn’t believe in the cause that they were marching for.
Protecting the Second Amendment
On Saturday, Floridian Senator Marco Rubio made a statement saying that he did not stand with campaigners who were demanding a gun ban in the wake of the horrifying mass shooting incident in February that took 17 lives while leaving many others injured. Rubio said that he, like many other Americans, believes that putting a ban on guns would be a violation to the Second Amendment.
Although Rubio expressed his solidarity with the victims of the shooting, recognizing the need for better preventive measures to protect innocent civilians from gun violence incidents, he was quick to oppose the cause for which hundreds of thousands of peaceful protesters rallied during the historic ‘March for Our Lives’.
He said that he respects the Americans who are pro the gun ban but he doesn’t believe that the solutions they propose to end gun violence in the country will be recognized by a majority of the American population that considers owning and bearing arms as their right according to the Second Amendment.
Significance of the $1.05 Price Tags Worn by Protestors
Rubio further explained that even those who are not in the favor of the gun ban want to end mass shooting incidents, but taking away the rights of law-abiding citizens of America may not be the solution to the problem. The senator, who has been accused of his close ties to the National Rifle Association even before he made the controversial statement, came under fire on Saturday as Parkland students rallied wearing $1.05 price tags to demonstrate how much their lives were worth to gun lobbying senator.
The price tags signified the amount of money that was donated to Rubio’s election campaigns by the NRA. According to the New York Times, the association has invested almost $3.3 million in the senator to get his support on gun ownership. The total amount, when divided by the current number of Floridian students, resulted in $1.05.
Support from the NRA
For years, Rubio has supported legislations that favor the NRA, and in return for his loyalty, the senator has received top rating from the pro-gun association. After being criticized for his support for the NRA, Rubio defended himself at the CNN Town Hall in the wake of the infamous Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting incident.
Facing the young students of the tragic attack, he explained that no amount of donation by the NRA is big enough to change his views on gun ownership issues. Although, what has really influenced him are the millions of people who work for the NRA and agree with the agenda of the gun rights association.
His controversial statement opens floodgates of criticism on social media as people accused him of not grasping the true significance of Saturday’s March for Our Lives. Many journalists tweeted out at the senator saying that the purpose of the peaceful rallies wasn’t solely to demand for a gun ban and instead of fostering a healthy discussion about growing gun violence in America, Rubio was using cheap tactics to divert attention from the real issue.
Alternate Solutions to the Gun Ban
According the senator, the only way to bring a real change is by finding a solution that everyone can agree upon. One plausible solution to the gun problem listed by the senator was the STOP School Violence Act which was passed as a bill by the House of Representatives and proposed several security measures for educational institutions to prevent violence. Even though the bill received sweeping bipartisan support in the senate, it failed to mention anything about gun control laws despite the growing public support for limiting gun usage.
Rubio also suggested other ideas like strict background check on gun owners – but protestors believe that none of these security measures will prevent shooting incidents as long guns are not taken out of the equation.