senator Marco Rubio reiterated on Tuesday evening that he was not only a total anti-abortionist, but also a Second Amendment extremist. Raised questions about gun control during his debate with the Democratic challenger Val Demingsthe Florida Republican suggested background checks were useless, called the modest security bill that some in his own party supported “insane” and backed out of a measure he advocated after the 2018 Marjorie Stoneman Douglas school shooting supported.
“It’s not working,” he said, reversing his earlier support for imposing age restrictions on assault weapons, like the way the Parkland gunman – who was recently sentenced to life without parole – killed 17 people and more than wounded a dozen others. “The basic question is, why are these children leaving, why are these people out there massacring these people?” Rubio asked. “Because a lot of people have AR-15s and don’t kill anyone.”
“People who are families of gun violence victims just heard this and they’re like, ‘What the hell did he just say?'” Demings replied.
According to Rubio, the best way to address the uniquely American problem of gun violence is not through common sense laws, which most Americans — including a significant number of gun owners themselves — support. It’s about “identifying these people who are behaving this way and stopping them before they act.” The way to do that, he said, is through red flag laws, a version of which he introduced in 2018. Notably, however, he voted against the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, which included incentives for states to pass red flag laws.
“The only people who obey these laws are law-abiding citizens,” Rubio said, referring to gun control efforts.
“Why don’t we just stop arresting killers since we can’t find them all?” Deming’s replied.
The heated exchange about gun safety took place during the first and only debate of the Florida Senate race, which also touched on one of the other defining issues of the 2022 cycle: abortion. Rubio, who had previously suggested he would support a total abortion ban, acknowledged Tuesday that he was “100 percent pro-life,” but tried not to be committed to any actual policy by saying only that he sees no ban without exception as politically feasible. “We will never vote on a law that doesn’t have exceptions because that’s where the majority of the American people are,” the Republican said. “I respect and understand that.”
It was a defensive performance from Rubio and an impressive one from Demings, a three-year congressman and former police chief who emerged as a rising star in the Democratic Party after helping to lead the first impeachment of donald trump in 2019. But the Republican incumbent has maintained a consistent but somewhat narrow lead in polls throughout the race, and it’s unclear if the two candidates’ performance on the debate stage will have a major impact. However, it underscored the extremism of the GOP agenda — even among those like Rubio who have tried to stay away from Trump.
https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2022/10/val-demings-marco-rubio-spar-over-abortion-gun-control-florida-senate-debate “What in the Hell Did He Just Say?”: Val Demings Calls Out Marco Rubio For Backing Away From Even the Most Modest Gun Reform