In a town hall meeting shortly after the mass shooting in Parkland, Florida that claimed 17 lives last month, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) claimed he believes people under the age of 21, like suspected shooter Nikolas Cruz, should not be able to buy rifles.
But as the Miami Herald noted Friday, his "clarification" on that stance sounds a lot like him changing his tune.
During the February town hall, Rubio said "I absolutely believe that in this country if you are 18 years of age, you should not be able to buy a rifle and I will support a law that takes that right away."
But on Friday, after, Gov. Rick Scott (R) signed into law a bill that, among other provisions, raises the minimum age to purchase guns from 18 to 21, Rubio claimed his belief has a caveat.
"I would prefer that [the new gun law] not include shotguns and bolt-action rifles,” Rubio told an interviewer at Washington, D.C's WUSA 9. “But let me be clear about one thing for people who are concerned about this, it’s not possession, so you can be 19 years old and use your father’s rifle to go hunting. You just can’t be the owner, you can’t go in and buy it yourself. That’s an important distinction."
The Herald noted that Rubio's spokesperson Olivia Perez-Cubas told them in a statement that clarification doesn't represent a change in his stance given at the town hall.
"It’s important to remember the context of the town hall, which was about an assault weapons ban — he was using the term ‘rifle’ in that regard,” Perez-Cubas told the newspaper via email. “Bolt action and shotguns are not semi-automatic. As he’s said consistently ... he supports raising the age but would want to see exemptions for bolt action, shotguns and for people who hunt."
Watch the interview below:
On @CBSThisMorning, I discussed North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un's invitation to meet with President Trump and my recent proposals for #GunSafety. pic.twitter.com/XMRMnaRziy
— Senator Rubio Press (@SenRubioPress) March 9, 2018