Bill Nelson calls for restrictions on assault weapons; Rubio focuses on ‘deeply disturbed’ shooter

The Florida senators illustrate the divide.
Published Feb. 15, 2018

WASHINGTON – Florida Sens. Marco Rubio and Bill Nelson both appeared this morning on Fox News and illustrated the partisan divide over mass shootings, Democrat Nelson calling for gun control and Republican Rubio focusing on the "deeply disturbed" shooter.

Here are transcripts as provided by Fox & Friends:


On whether he feels schools should have armed security guards: "Yes, and this is a mental health problem and we've got to face the fact that this is an automatic military assault weapon. I want you to know I grew up on a ranch. I have grown up with guns. I have hunted all my life. I hunt with my son still. An AR-15 is not for hunting, it's for killing. And the question is, should this be a legal weapon in our society? Just think, all of these children are our children and if we were the parents of one of those children, if we thought that it was not easy to get an assault weapon, we might be thinking that one less child was dead. The fact is we can't make our schools armed camps. I mean, that's just not practical and it's not reflective of our open society."

On whether he thinks we should ban assault weapons: "We had that back in the 90s, and it expired after 10 years after in early 2000s. And we can't even get, Senator Feinstein offered an amendment, now get this, it was if you're on the terrorist watch list, you cannot buy a gun. We couldn't get the votes to pass that."

On whether the previous ban on assault weapons impacted crime rates: "I don't know the statistics from that. But I know that an automatic weapon such as this can kill a lot of people in a short period of time. It can kill a lot of things in a short period of time."

On his conversation with the superintendent of the school: "I've talked to the superintendent of the schools, and I know him. He's really shaken by this and he's bound and determined that the community and the school family will heal, and he'll bring them all back together."


On the Florida shooter: "When one individual decides in a premeditated and orchestrated way that they are going to carry something like this out, it can happen anywhere. And this particular case, and I think in the days to come, we will learn more about it. We have a deeply disturbed person; someone you look at the social media accounts. You look at some of the other things that law enforcement has not yet made public. This was someone who kind of had a, you know, a bunch of events come together. His father died a few years ago. His adoptive mother died late last year. He was living with another family. But this is someone that people knew was a danger. Someone that in the school there was this running joke. It's not a joke anymore, obviously. But a running joke that he would come back one day and hurt a lot of people. All these things happen and, yet, somehow this individual escaped detection and able to acquire this weapon and able to go in and kill 17 people and injure many more. It can happen anywhere. It just takes one person with the wrong circumstances and you get in this situation."

On the signs shown by the Florida shooter leading up to the shooting: "You have to look at the totality. It's not just the guy you are getting calls about doing weird things. It's a guy that is putting all these things up on social media. It's a guy that has had problems in threatening people at school. When you put the full picture together, you start to say this is a person who could be a very serious problem. And then what can you do about it? How can you get ahead of it? How can you jump on that and prevent it from happening? And that's the problem here. We look at these things in isolated way but not in their totality."

On the Parkland, Florida community: "Parkland, by the way, is one the safest communities in America. It's a place that people move to get away from this. This I say you are not going to get likely to get mugged there or car jacked there. Your home is not likely to get broken into there. It's a very safe community. This is an isolated instance but a very tragic and catastrophic one where you have you individual with a perfect storm of circumstances and then goes into a school and kills 17 people and injures many more."

Rubio was not asked about gun measures.