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Rubio downplays gun limits, stresses school safety and mental health in Senate speech

Marco Rubio 3

@alextdaugherty @newsbysmiley

In a response on the Senate floor Thursday to the deadliest high school shooting in U.S. history, Sen. Marco Rubio argued that local law enforcement and school officials could have prevented the massacre in Parkland and urged Congress to pass narrowly tailored bills on school safety and mental health that have support from both parties.

But the Florida Republican barely mentioned guns.

Rubio stopped short of endorsing a bill that would raise the minimum age to purchase a firearm, instead urging Congress to quickly pass bills related to mental health, school safety and the background check system.

“I will continue to explore additional reforms involving age limits and potentially magazine capacity,” Rubio said, adding that those ideas do not enjoy enough bipartisan support to pass right now. Last week at a CNN townhall meeting televised nationally, Rubio said he would “support a law” that prevents 18-year-olds from legally purchasing guns.

Rubio criticized the response of law enforcement and school officials during his speech, arguing enough safeguards were in place before the shooting to prevent it.

“I actually believe this attack could have and should have been prevented if current law had been enforced,” Rubio said.

The bills Rubio endorsed include the Stop School Violence Act, which was introduced in the House before the shooting by Florida Republican Rep. John Rutherford. The bill, which reauthorizes federal funding for the Secure Our Schools grant program, has the support of Democrats like Rep. Ted Deutch, who represents Parkland in Washington.

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