Rubio unveils gun plan focused on school safety

Rubio unveils gun plan focused on school safety
© Greg Nash

Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioRubio in Colombia to push for delivery of humanitarian aid to Venezuela On unilateral executive action, Mitch McConnell was right — in 2014 On The Money: Trump declares emergency at border | Braces for legal fight | Move divides GOP | Trump signs border deal to avoid shutdown | Winners, losers from spending fight | US, China trade talks to resume next week MORE (R-Fla.) on Thursday unveiled a slate of school safety and background check proposals after 17 people were killed in a Florida shooting last month. 

"I also know that there is widespread support and agreement that we must act now, as soon as possible, to prevent another tragedy like Parkland," Rubio said from the Senate floor. 
 
Rubio outlined six bills that he either supports or will be introducing following the Parkland, Fla., high school shooting, including creating "gun violence restraining orders" that would allow law enforcement or family members to get a court order to prevent an individual deemed dangerous from buying a gun or remove a gun from their possession. 
 
"I wanted to come here ...  and announce a comprehensive plan ... a series of measures that I believe could prevent these attacks before they happen," Rubio said. 
 
He added that he believed the ideas "should all enjoy bipartisan support" and the 60 votes needed to clear the Senate.  
 
The Florida high school shooting has vaulted Rubio back into the national spotlight and placed his gun views under a microscope. During a CNN town hall last week, he was booed by parents and students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, where a gunman killed 17 last month. 
 
Congress is under renewed pressure to pass new legislation, though it remains unclear what rules could win over both chambers.
 
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Rubio said on Thursday that he will be introducing legislation to target "straw purchases," when an individual buys a gun for someone who couldn't pass a background check. 
 
He will also be introducing "Lie and Try" legislation, which requires the FBI to notify local law enforcement when someone who is prohibited from buying a gun tries to purchase one and fails a background check so they can be prosecuted. 
 
But, Rubio's proposals will not address the minimum age for buying a rifle, a measure that is opposed by the National Rifle Association (NRA) and been met with skepticism by most Republicans on Capitol Hill. 
 
Rubio said on Thursday that he remains open to that idea, as well as reconsidering his support for high capacity magazines. 

"[But] these reforms do not enjoy the sort of widespread support in Congress that the other measures announced today enjoy," he said.

Instead, Rubio's proposals also focused on school safety, including a forthcoming bill from Sen. Orrin HatchOrrin Grant HatchOrrin Hatch Foundation seeking million in taxpayer money to fund new center in his honor Mitch McConnell has shown the nation his version of power grab Overnight Health Care — Presented by PCMA — Utah Senate votes to scale back Medicaid expansion | Virginia abortion bill reignites debate | Grassley invites drug execs to testify | Conservative groups push back on e-cig crackdown MORE (R-Utah) that bolsters school violence prevention grants. 

And noting that federal law currently "appears to discourage school systems from reporting dangerous students to law enforcement," Rubio said he would introduce legislation to try to cut down on the delay.
 
It remains unclear what, if any, bill the Senate will take up in response to the Parkland, Fla., shooting. 

Republicans are lining up behind the Fix NICS (National Instant Background Check System) Act, which would enforce current law by ensuring that states and agencies provide criminal records to the NICS, while penalizing those that don't.

But Trump urged lawmakers to either broaden the bill or fold it into legislation expanding background checks. 
 
Democrats, while supportive of Fix NICS, believe it is too narrow. Senate Democrats are unveiling their own plan on Thursday
 
Rubio urged his colleagues not to hold less controversial legislation "hostage." 
 
"Do not hold hostage a piece of legislation that would work and that we all support because it does not have everything you want," he said. "On the things that we agree on ... let's get those done."