“My daughter, running down the hallway, was shot in the back with an assault weapon, the weapon of choice.”
Fred Guttenberg, who lost his 14-year-old daughter in the Florida high school shooting last week, was speaking to Republican Senator Marco Rubio and a spokeswoman from the National Rifle Association (NRA) Dana Loesch on Wednesday.
Gripping the microphone defiantly, Guttenberg asked the pair, over and over again, to “look at me and tell me: guns are a factor in the hunting of our kids”.
Watch Fred Guttenberg’s plea in the video below.
In the crowd, there were students of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, where the shooting occurred, and the families of those who were killed and injured. Guttenberg had hundreds of angry, grieving American citizens backing his message
“[An assault rifle] is too easy to get,” he told Rubio and Loesch. “It is a weapon of war. The fact that you can’t stand with everybody else in this room and say that, I’m sorry.”
Rubio and Loesch fumbled through their justifications.
Amelia Lester explains why the aftermath of the school shooting in Florida feels different to that of any shooting before it.
Mental health measures – not stricter gun laws – will end the killing, Loesch insisted. “People who are crazy should not be able to get firearms,” she said.
Rubio said he would support moves to improve background checks and ban bump stocks – accessories that turn guns into semi-automatics, The Sydney Morning Herald reports.
He would also consider legislation to raise the legal age for purchasing an assault weapon from 18 to 21 – something Loesch said the NRA refused to do.
But he would not support a ban on assault weapons. And he will not stop taking money from the NRA and other pro-gun groups.
Addressing Rubio in particular, Guttenberg said: “Your comments this week and those of our President have been pathetically weak.”