Rubio was right to change position on AR-15s

Rubio was right to change position on AR-15s
(AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

In the wake of Parkland, a lot of people switched their views on gun control. They were so shaken by what happened that a lot of people who were pro-gun suddenly figured, “Maybe we should pass some laws.”

Now, years later, a lot of people are lashing out at Florida Sen. Marco Rubio. Why? Because he apparently reneged on a promise to restrict AR-15s.

On the election debate stage Tuesday night, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) turned his back on a promise he made to Floridians after the tragic Parkland school mass shooting four years ago: to raise the age limit on AR-15 rifle purchases from 18 to 21.

The proposed enhanced restriction would be an attempt to make it more difficult for young adults to buy a semiautomatic rifle that can fire bullets as fast as a person can pull the trigger—one with minimal recoil that makes it easier to continue shooting accurately.

The senator revealed his change of heart Tuesday when answering a question from the moderator, who asked if Rubio still sticks by the pledge he made in the days after the Valentine’s Day school rampage.

Although Rubio first dodged the question, WPBF 25 News anchor Todd McDermott pressed on.

“What you said in 2018 is not what you believe is a solution today?”

“Denying the right to buy it isn’t going to keep them from doing it,” Rubio responded.

Of course, people want to make this a huge thing, but Rubio is absolutely right here. Denying someone the ability to lawfully purchase an AR-15 isn’t going to stop mass shootings.

Over the years, we’ve seen countless ways killers get weapons. The Sandy Hook killer murdered his own mother in order to obtain an AR-15, for example.

And the AR-15 isn’t even the preferred weapon for mass shooters. Most prefer handguns, such as the killer in the worst school shooting in American history, Virginia Tech.

Rubio’s previous promise shouldn’t have been made–on that, I think he made a major blunder–but changing his mind as time rolls on is perfectly acceptable, especially as we’ve seen mass shootings like Buffalo where restricting AR-15s didn’t seem to do a damn thing.

It’s funny, we all talk about how we want lawmakers to adjust their positions over time as new information surfaces, but people are upset with Rubio because that’s pretty much what he did. They’re just mad he didn’t adjust the “right” way.

The truth is that restricting AR-15s to only those over 21 not only wouldn’t stop mass shootings, it’s unlikely it would survive legal challenge in this post-Bruen world. Why pass a law you believe will be found to be unconstitutional?

Of course, that could have been said about the measure when Rubio agreed to push for it.

Sen. Marco Rubio is far from the best on Second Amendment matters, but on this, he’s making the right call. Restricting guns isn’t the way to stop these atrocities and it never will be. There are better methods out there. We just need to be able to discuss them.

As for Rubio, it’s unlikely this is going to hurt him. The people who are most upset with him weren’t going to vote for him anyway.

If anything, this will benefit him.