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D.C. officials call on Rubio to withdraw bill that steps on local gun restrictions

Rubio won't do it -- but his measure isn't moving, either.
Parkland student Cameron Kasky questions Sen. Marco Rubio at the CNN town hall
Parkland student Cameron Kasky questions Sen. Marco Rubio at the CNN town hall
Published Mar. 13, 2018|Updated Mar. 13, 2018

WASHINGTON – This city's mayor has message for Sen. Marco Rubio: Butt out.

Tuesday, Mayor Muriel Bowser and other officials, including Reps. Eleanor Holmes Norton and Ted Deutch, will call on Rubio to withdraw a bill that would effectively gut local gun regulations, some of the toughest in the country.

Rubio introduced the measure before running for president in 2016, pleasing the NRA, (and has since reintroduced it, with no co-sponsors) but the legislation has become a sore point after the Parkland shooting.

Critics note that Rubio said at the recent CNN town hall that he would support raising the purchase age of riles, but that his bill allows DC residents under age 21 to buy assault rifles.

"It is heartening that Rubio has recently expressed support for raising the minimum age for purchasing a gun and for comprehensive background checks, but for the residents of the nation's capital, it is also confounding, because it is the height of hypocrisy to unveil and promote these new stances while simultaneously working to gut D.C.'s local gun laws," Bower wrote in an op/ed last week for the Miami Herald.

"In less than two weeks, I will proudly stand with the Marjory Stoneman Douglas students at the March for Our Lives. Our warrior on the Hill, Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton, has already called on Sen. Rubio to withdraw his legislation. I ask him to do so before March 24," she wrote.

"If he does not, then shame on him for his hypocrisy — and for not having the courage to take a stronger stand even after two of our country's deadliest mass shootings happened in his home state. Our country deserves more than the inaction that has become the norm, and Americans expect their elected leaders to have courage."

Rubio has no intention of retreating.

"Senator Rubio's bill will not be withdrawn," a spokeswoman said Monday. "The District of Columbia is a federal jurisdiction and this bill simply aligns D.C. firearms regulations with federal law. If federal law is changed it would apply to D.C. as well."

While Rubio supported raising the purchase age and said he's open to restricting magazine capacity — ideas opposed by the NRA — he's also not pushing for them, instead saying Congress must do what it can amid a divisive debate.

On Tuesday the Florida Republican will join a news conference calling for passage of the Students, Teachers, and Officers Preventing School Violence Act.


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