Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) on Wednesday broke with the National Rifle Association and said he supports bipartisan legislation that would increase the legal age for purchasing a rifle. Rubio also said he is rethinking his previous support of high-capacity magazines.
“I absolutely believe that in this country, if you are 18 years of age, you should not be able to buy a rifle,” he said, during a CNN town hall, responding to the father of a students who was one of 17 killed during the attack at a Florida high school last week. “I will support a law that takes that right away.”
Rubio was likely referencing a bipartisan bill that Sens. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) are crafting that would increase the age for legally purchasing a rifle to 21. The alleged shooter at the Florida high school is 19-years-old and was 18 when he purchased the AR-15 that he used to carry out the attack.
A kid too young buy a handgun should be too young to buy an #AR15. Working with @SenFeinstein on a bipartisan bill that will raise the minimum purchase age for non-military buyers from 18 to 21 – the same age you currently have to be to purchase a handgun.
— Jeff Flake (@JeffFlake) February 21, 2018
Later in the town hall discussion, Rubio also suggested that he was supportive of banning bump stocks — a device that makes a semi-automatic gun function like an automatic weapon. A Las Vegas gunman used bump stocks to kill 50-plus people last year. Rubio also said he supports improving background checks, an issue President Trump has said he supports.
Rubio said he was also rethinking his support of large-capacity magazines. He said that he did not think a ban on high-capacity rifles would necessarily prevent another attack, but “it may save lives in an attack.”
While Rubio suggested a change of heart on some gun reform issues during the town hall discussion with students and parents of victims Wednesday, he floundered when a student survivor asked him if he would continue to take money from the NRA.
“The positions I hold on these issues of the Second Amendment, I’ve held since the day I entered office in the city of West Miami as an elected official,” Rubio said. “People buy into my agenda, and I do support the Second Amendment.”