On Wednesday night, Senator Marco Rubio came ready to spout weak defenses for gun rights at a town hall that CNN organized. But the teens affected by the latest school shooting in Parkland, Florida also came prepared to confront him and urge him to support stricter gun laws. At the town hall meeting, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School students and their parents spoke directly to politicians, with Rubio being the lone Republican.
A particularly tense moment came when Fred Guttenberg asked Rubio to acknowledge that guns played a factor in the death of his child. “I’m saying that the problems we’re facing here today cannot be solved by gun laws alone,” he told the parent. “And I’m going to tell you what we’ve done already and what I hope we’ll do moving forward.” Guttenberg interrupted him and asked again, “Were guns the factor in the hunting of our kids?” Rubio replied that of course they were.
However, when Cameron Kasky – a junior who survived the attack – stepped up to speak to Rubio, the senator showed unwavering support for the National Rifle Association, he talked about his support of the Second Amendment. “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.”
When Kasky asked him if he’d continue to take money from the NRA – a choice that many have criticized him for – Rubio responded, “That is the wrong to look [at it]. First of all, the answer is people buy into my agenda. The influence of these groups comes not from money,” he said. “The influence comes from the millions of people that agree with the agenda. The millions of people that support the NRA and support gun rights groups.”
Rubio had to fight to be heard over an angry crowd that booed him as he refused to promise to do right by the 17 people killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Though Rubio – who has voted for gun rights bills consistently in the Florida Legislature and Congress – made some concessions, including raising the age to buy rifles and re-evaluating the size of gun magazines – many saw that a group of teens wouldn’t let him go unchallenged. As such, the internet is celebrating the teens’ takedown of Rubio. Check out a few of the best reactions below.