Vowing to defend the second amendment , Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio suggested to a packed audience in Iowa that guns might be the only tools at their disposal to protect themselves against the Islamic State.
Speaking before a crowd of roughly 600 on Saturday evening in Sioux Center, a city in western Iowa, Rubio issued a stern warning that Barack Obama and his administration were conspiring to confiscate guns. The Florida senator added that, as president, he would uphold the US constitution and ensure that gun rights were protected.
“My attorney general is not going to be someone that comes to my office to conspire about how to take away your guns,” Rubio said. “My attorney general is going to be someone that defends your second amendment right to protect your family, your homes, your business and your property.
“Because, if God forbid Isis pays a visit to you, to our community, the last thing standing between them and our families may be the ability to protect ourselves with our guns. And there’s no way we’re going to take that away from the American people, not when I’m president.”
Republican presidential candidates have linked the threat of terrorism from Isis to gun control since the San Bernardino shooting in December , in which 14 people were killed and 20 wounded by a couple alleged to have supported the militant group.
Rubio has been especially vocal about gun rights in the wake of Obama’s executive action to expand background checks, a move taken by the president earlier this month in the face of congressional inaction . The Florida senator has already pledged to overturn Obama’s executive orders on his first day in office, should he be elected to the White House this year.
Rubio, who holds an A rating from the National Rifle Association, also talked up the issue in last week’s presidential debate in Charleston.
“I am convinced if this president could confiscate every gun, he would,” Rubio said. “I am convinced if he could get rid of the second amendment, he would.”
Although the crowd erupted in cheers, Fox Business moderator Neil Cavuto pushed back at the idea that Obama would actually take away people’s guns .
“You don’t think that’s extreme?” Cavuto asked.
Rubio reiterated, emphatically, that Obama was intent on making it “harder for people to buy guns”.
Obama has never put forward a proposal that would actually remove firearms from the possession of law-abiding citizens. At an 8 January forum on guns hosted by CNN, Obama dismissed as conspiracies claims that he was out to grab anyone’s guns.
“I’m only going to be here for another year. When would I have started on this enterprise?” he said, while adding that his advocacy for stricter gun laws was not inconsistent with his support of the second amendment.
Guns sales have risen exponentially under Obama’s watch, a trend Rubio has explained as evidence that Americans are fearful of losing access to firearms under the current administration.
Last week, the 44-year-old senator toured a gun manufacturer in New Hampshire, where he told employees he spent part of Christmas Eve shopping for a handgun and was surprised to find that the store was “packed”.
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