Rubio joins group threatening to filibuster gun control legislation

Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioWashington fears new threat from 'deepfake' videos Overnight Defense: Second Trump-Kim summit planned for next month | Pelosi accuses Trump of leaking Afghanistan trip plans | Pentagon warns of climate threat to bases | Trump faces pressure to reconsider Syria exit Pressure mounts for Trump to reconsider Syria withdrawal MORE (R-Fla.) on Thursday joined a group of Republicans threatening to filibuster gun control legislation in the Senate.

“We, the undersigned, intend to oppose any legislation that would infringe on the American people’s constitutional right to bear arms, or on their ability to exercise this right without being subjected to government surveillance,” he wrote in a statement on his website.

“The Second Amendment to the Constitution protects citizens’ right to self-defense. It speaks to history’s lesson that government cannot be in all places at all times, and history’s warning about the oppression of a government that tries.”

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Earlier this week, GOP Sens. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulPressure mounts for Trump to reconsider Syria withdrawal House Republicans call for moving State of the Union to Senate chamber GOP rep: 'Rand Paul is giving the president bad advice' on Afghanistan and Syria MORE (Ky.), Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeHillicon Valley: Trump AG pick signals new scrutiny on tech giants | Wireless providers in new privacy storm | SEC brings charges in agency hack | Facebook to invest 0M in local news AG pick Barr wants closer scrutiny of Silicon Valley 'behemoths' Grassroots political participation is under attack in Utah and GOP is fighting back MORE (Utah), and Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzGroup aiming to draft Beto O’Rourke unveils first 2020 video Howard Dean looking for a 'younger, newer' Democratic nominee in 2020 Congress can stop the war on science MORE (Texas) wrote a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidSenate Republicans eye rules change to speed Trump nominees Harry Reid knocks Ocasio-Cortez's tax proposal: Fast 'radical change' doesn't work Overnight Defense: Trump rejects Graham call to end shutdown | Coast Guard on track to miss Tuesday paychecks | Dems eye Trump, Russia probes | Trump talks with Erdogan after making threat to Turkey's economy MORE (D-Nev.) pledging to “oppose the motion to proceed to any legislation that will serve as a vehicle for any additional gun restrictions.”

In adding his name to that letter on Thursday, Rubio gives the group some added heft and star power.

Next month, Reid plans to bring to the floor a bill that would expand background checks and penalties on straw purchases of firearms. The portion of the bill on illegal trafficking of firearms has bipartisan support, including from Sen. Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyDem calls for Cohen to testify before Senate panel over explosive report Senate Republicans eye rules change to speed Trump nominees IRS shutdown plan fails to quell worries MORE (R-Iowa), the ranking Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Grassley is also preparing gun control legislation he will offer as an alternative to the package from Democrats.

The White House is digging in for a fight over gun control. Press secretary Jay Carney on Tuesday criticized the Republican threat, saying it would send the wrong message to the families of gun violence victims.

On Thursday, President Obama made an emotional plea for Congress to pass gun control legislation, recalling the massacre that left 26 people dead at Sandy Hook Elementary School less than 100 days ago.

But Rubio said Obama's proposals aren't what's needed to reduce gun violence.

“We should look for ways to keep firearms out of the hands of criminals and the mentally ill prone to misusing them, but I oppose legislation that will be used as a vehicle to impose new Second Amendment restrictions on responsible, law-abiding gun owners,” Rubio said.

“We should work to reduce tragic acts of violence by addressing violence at its source, including untreated mental illness, the lack of adequate information-sharing on mental health issues, and the breakdown of the family.”